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COVID-19 vaccines may be less effective against Omicron - WHO

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By Reuters
COVID-19 vaccines may be less effective against Omicron - WHO
COVID-19 vaccines may be less effective against Omicron - WHO   -   Copyright  Thomson Reuters 2021   -  

<div> <p><span class="caps">GENEVA</span> – Preliminary evidence indicates that <span class="caps">COVID</span>-19 vaccines may be less effective against infection and transmission linked to the Omicron coronavirus variant, which also carries a higher risk of reinfection, the World Health Organization said on Wednesday.</p> <p>The <span class="caps">WHO</span>, in its weekly epidemiological update, said that more data was needed to better understand the extent to which Omicron may evade immunity derived from either vaccines or previous infection.</p> <p>“As a result of this, the overall risk related to the new variant of concern Omicron remains very high,” it said, echoing comments made by <span class="caps">WHO</span> officials at an online briefing on Tuesday. </p> <p>For the first time since the dominant Delta variant was classified as a variant of concern in April, the percentage of Delta sequences registered on the <span class="caps">GISAID</span> global science database has declined this week compared with other variants of concern, it said.</p> <p>This needs to be interpreted with caution as countries may perform targeted sequencing for Omicron and therefore upload fewer sequences on all other variants, including Delta, it said.</p> <p>The Delta variant is still dominant, however, accounting for 99.2% of the almost 880,000 sequences uploaded to <span class="caps">GISAID</span> with specimens collected in the last 60 days.</p> <p>But the trend is declining in the proportion of Alpha, Beta and Gamma, and with the emergence of Omicron variant. Out of the total, some 3,755 – or 0.4% – were Omicron and the other three variants of concern together numbered 401, less than 0.1% each.</p> <p/> </div>