Omicron may reduce vaccine efficacy: WHO

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Omicron may reduce vaccine efficacy: WHO (Image: Unsplash)
Omicron may reduce vaccine efficacy: WHO (Image: Unsplash)

New Delhi : The new Omicron variant of COVID-19, which has been reported in over 60 countries including India, is likely to surpass Delta in spreading speed, the World Health Organisation (WHO) warned in its latest remarks.

"Based on current limited evidence, Omicron appears to have a growth advantage over Delta. It is spreading faster than the Delta variant in South Africa where Delta circulation was low but also appears to spread more quickly than the Delta variant of other countries where the incidence of Delta is high such as in the UK," the WHO said.

The WHO is still researching on why the Omicron variant has high transmissibility. “Whether Omicron’s observed rapid growth in countries with high levels of population immunity is related to immune evasion, intrinsic increased transmissibility or a combination of both remains uncertain. However, given the current available data, it is likely that Omicron will outpace the Delta variant where community transmission occurs,” WHO said.

In the initial study, it has also been observed that the Omicron variant is capable of reducing the vaccine effectiveness.

“There are limited available data, and no peer-reviewed evidence, on vaccine efficacy or effectiveness to date for Omicron. Preliminary evidence, and the considerably altered antigenic profile of the Omicron spike protein, suggests a reduction in vaccine efficacy against infection and transmission associated with Omicron,” the statement said.