Covid-19 pandemic

Omicron reportedly has 30+ mutations in spike protein region, may bypass vaccines: AIIMS chief

Dr Randeep Guelria says efficacy of vaccines, including those in use in India, needs to be evaluated ‘critically’

Omicron reportedly has 30+ mutations in spike protein region, may bypass vaccines: AIIMS chief

Photo for representational purpose only. iStock

New Delhi, November 27

The new Omicron variant of coronavirus has reportedly got over 30 mutations in the spike protein region giving it the potential to develop a immunoescape mechanism, and thus the efficacy of vaccines against it needs to be evaluated critically, AIIMS chief Dr Randeep Guelria has said.

The presence of spike protein facilitates a virus’ entry into the host cell and is responsible for making it transmissible and causing infection.


Read also:

Govt to review decision on restarting international flights, SOP for incoming passengers amid Omicron concerns

'Increase testing, monitor hotspots': Centre alerts states over new Covid variant


“The new variant of coronavirus reportedly has got more than 30 mutations in the spike protein region and therefore has the potential of developing immunoescape mechanisms. As most vaccines (work by) forming antibodies against the spike protein, so many mutations at the spike protein region may lead to a decreased efficacy of COVID-19 vaccines,” AIIMS Director Dr Randeep Guelria told PTI.

In such a scenario, the efficacy of vaccines, including those in use in India, needs to be evaluated “critically”, he said.

The future course of action will depend on what more data on its transmissibility, virulence and immunoescpae shows, he said.

The Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genomic Consortia INSACOG is closely tracking the new variant of COVID-19 called B.1.1.529 and its presence has not been detected yet in the country, officials have said.

Dr Guleria emphasised the need to be very vigilant and having aggressive surveillance both for international travellers and in the region where there is a sudden increase in the number of cases.

“Also, we must ask everyone to religiously follow Coivd-appropriate behaviour and not let their guards down. Also, it has to be ensured that people get both the doses of vaccine and those who have not yet taken the jab are encouraged to come forward to take it,” he said.

The new, and potentially more contagious variant, was first reported to the World Health Organization (WHO) from South Africa on November 24. It has since been identified in Botswana, Belgium, Hong Kong and Israel among other countries.

On Friday, it was designated a ‘Variant of Concern’ by the WHO, which named it Omicron. A ‘Variant of Concern’ is the WHO’s top category of worrying Covid-19 strain.

The Centre on Thursday asked all states and union territories to conduct rigorous screening and testing of all international travellers coming from or transiting through South Africa, Hong Kong and Botswana.

In a letter to the additional chief secretary/principal secretary/secretary (Health) of all states and union territories, Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan asked them to ensure that samples of travellers turning positive are sent to the designated genome sequencing laboratories promptly. PTI

Tribune Shorts


Top Stories

SC upholds 27 pc OBC reservation in NEET all-India quota

Reservation not at odds with merit, says SC as it upholds 27 pc OBC quota in NEET

Top court says challenge to the validity of criteria for det...

Daughters to inherit fathers’ self acquired, inherited properties, to get preference over others: SC

Daughters to inherit fathers’ self acquired, inherited properties, to get preference over others: SC

Top court bench was dealing with the legal issue concerning ...

Covid deaths in third wave majorly lower than second due to high vaccine uptake

Covid deaths in third wave majorly lower than second due to high vaccine uptake

Bed occupancy in Delhi stable despite rise in new and active...

Masks not recommended for children aged 5 and under: New Covid guide on children

Masks not recommended for children aged 5 and under: New Covid guide on children

Issuing antimicrobial use guide, health ministry says Covid-...

Congress seeks Election Commission intervention over ED raids against Punjab CM Channi’s relative

Congress seeks Election Commission intervention over ED raids against Punjab CM Channi’s relative

Timing of raids is questionable as they have come crucially ...

Cities

View All