Omicron variant, do not panic: here’s why

The Omicron variant, initially isolated in South Africa, runs and alerts Europe to what appears to be even greater transmissibility than the Delta variant, currently predominant in the old continent. There is talk of a ‘race against time’ to prevent it from spreading and in turn becoming predominant, but there is no reason to create and pursue panic as has been done in recent days.

Mild symptoms and effective tests

These are the first two positive elements of the Omicron variant – also identified in Italy – that emerged pending more accurate data. Walter Ricciardi, advisor to the Minister of Health Roberto Speranza, speaks at Che tempo che fa. “The Omicron variant is called a concern variant, there are elements we need to monitor. It is too early for any conclusion, however there are some elements. The negative one is the huge possibility of spreading. In 2 weeks in South Africa it went from 1% to 30%, the contagiousness is even higher than that of the Delta. There is a large amount of mutations, which in itself is not a bad thing. When there are many, the likelihood that there is a “dangerous” one increases.

Trust also in vaccination coverage

There is therefore no lack of positive elements. “We are getting communications from South Africa’s chief medical officer that it has no greater gravity. The other positive thing, just arrived from Israel, is that the tests currently available continue to diagnose it. It hasn’t bypassed the tests and there’s a good chance that this also applies to vaccines, but we’ll know that in the next few weeks, ”Ricciardi says.

Omicron variant, vaccine update: Pfizer’s announcement

The president of the European Commission spoke about an adaptation of the vaccine Ursula Von der Leyen to the dissemination of the news on the discovery of the strain identified in South Africa, leveraging the update clauses of the preparations already provided for in the contracts with the pharmaceutical multinationals (here we talked about the cases of Omicron already registered in Europe and in Italy).

For its part, the Pfizer-BionTech combination has ensured, should it prove necessary, that it is ready to develop a new mRna preparation against the Omicron variant in about three months. “In the event that an escape variant from the vaccine emerges, Pfizer and BioNTech expect to be able to develop and manufacture a bespoke vaccine against that variant in about 100 days, subject to regulatory approval,” the two companies wrote in a statement. joint.

Pfizer said it had already initiated lineage studies of Sars-Cov-2 discovered in South Africa.

Vaccine to children

In the next few days, AIFA could get the green light for vaccination for children aged 5-11. “The vaccination of children is an epoch-making step, it is the most important step in reducing the circulation of the virus. In America they have vaccinated over 3 million children, vaccination is proving extraordinarily safe and protective, ”says Ricciardi.

In collaboration with Adnkronos

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