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The German pharmaceutical company BioNTech and its American partner Pfizer have begun developing a COVID-19 vaccine customized to the omicron coronavirus strain, for subsequent commercial usage.
According to BioNTech CEO Ugura Sahina, the manufacture of a COVID-19 vaccine customized to the omicron version has begun. Clinical studies on the vaccine will begin in late January. After gaining regulatory permits, the product is expected to be market by March. At the same time, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) has not yet said whether it considers a vaccine customized to the omicron form with a different composition than that presently in use is required. Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla said that he didn’t know if the vaccine would be needed or how it would be deployed, but that these businesses would be prepared if it was necessary.
The COVID-19 vaccines, which are presently being made by a number of businesses, were designed to combat the so-called wild-type SARS-CoV-2 virus, which was initially found in China in late 2019. While vaccinations used since the turn of 2020/201 have been successful against subsequent mutations such as alpha or delta, the situation in the case of omicron may be different, at least in terms of infection risk, reports “Die Welt”.
The World Health Organization (WHO) released the first data on the Omikron variant’s death rate last month. It revealed that in 38 nations already dealing with the new kind, the variant was not the cause of a single death. Simultaneously, scientists have discovered that it is immune to immunizations. The effectiveness in contact with Omikron reduced to 30% in the case of two Pfizer dosages, and it is near to nil in the case of AstraZeneka. As a result, the booster boosts the amount of protection to 75%.
Several weeks have passed since the report’s release, and the first fatalities among Omikron-infected people have already been reported. More study has also been done on its mortality. According to preliminary research reported in the UK and Africa, those infected with Omikron have a 30 to 70% lower risk of hospitalization than those who have the prior forms.
However, there is still a danger of hospitalization, particularly for patients who have pre-existing disorders for which they have not been immunized. And, given that the Omikron variation is up to 105% more infectious than Delta, we must consider the possibility that hospitals will just stop to be efficient.