[Photo: BBC News]
A World Health Organization (WHO) official Mike Ryan says existing Covid-19 vaccines can still protect people who contract the Omicron Covid-19 variant from severe Covid cases.
Ryan says initial data shows that Omicron does not make people sicker than the Delta and other strains.
“We have highly effective vaccines that have proved effective against all the variants so far.”
He says initial data suggested Omicron does not make people sicker than the Delta variant and other strains, “If anything, the direction is towards less severity.
According to the WHO emergencies director, the study which was conducted in South Africa found the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine to be up to 40 times less effective against Omicron than the original Covid strain.
No report has been releases on how the Moderna, Johnson & Johnson and other jabs hold up against the new variant.
Professor Alex Sigal, a virologist at the Africa Health Research Institute, who led the research says the results, based on blood tests from 12 people, were better than what he expected of Omicron.
He says vaccination combined with previous infection could neutralize against the variant and probably protect people against severe cases.
The Omicron variant is the latest Covid-19 variant to be discovered and is the most heavily mutated version of coronavirus found so far.
It was named Omicron by the World Health Organization, following the pattern of Greek code-names like the Alpha and Delta variants.
It was first identified in South Africa, which has now recorded a surge in the number of people catching Covid multiple times.
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