Stiko boss does not expect the Omikron vaccine for months

Status: 04.12.2021 03:47 a.m.

The head of the Standing Vaccination Commission Mertens assumes that the manufacturers need three to six months to develop a new vaccine against the Omikron variant. He called on people not to wait and to get boosted now.

The head of the Standing Vaccination Commission, Thomas Mertens, does not expect possible new vaccines against the Omikron variant of the coronavirus for months. “The manufacturers should need three to six months in the laboratory. That is not entirely trivial: You have to create a vaccine that works against Omikron and Delta, because Delta is still widespread,” said Mertens of the “Rheinische Post”. Then the approval is still pending.

“The question is whether the authorities will require completely new regulatory studies or choose a fast approval process,” he said. He believes it is entirely possible that a new vaccine will be necessary in the fight against the variant: “Omikron has made many changes to the spike protein, which could make it more difficult for the antibodies to take action against the virus.”

Mertens: Do not postpone the booster vaccination

Despite a possible new vaccine, citizens should now receive a booster vaccination, emphasized Mertens: “Boosting is definitely worth it. The fight against the Delta variant continues. And it would not be a problem to be vaccinated again a few months after the booster vaccination to protect yourself from Omikron if necessary. ”

The Stiko boss also warned against stigmatizing South Africa, where the Omikron variant was first discovered: “South Africa sequences very professionally, that’s why Omikron was discovered there. Nobody knows where the variant comes from. It may be due to mutations in immunocompromised people emerged, in which viruses multiply particularly violently and for a long time due to a lack of resistance. ”

BioNTech boss confident

The new variant is fueling worries around the world, but according to experts it is still too early to say what impact it will have on the pandemic. Because of the many mutations, it is feared that the Omikron variant could be more easily transmitted and more resistant to vaccinations. But this has yet to be confirmed.

The head of the German vaccine manufacturer BioNTech, Sahin, had recently shown himself confident that corona vaccines will also protect against serious disease progression in the case of Omikron and the following other virus variants. Omikron is not the first Corona variant that has emerged, said Sahin in Mainz when he and his wife Özlem Türeci were awarded this year’s prize by the Turkish Aydin Dogan Foundation.

Moderna boss more skeptical

In addition to the ongoing laboratory tests to investigate the new Corona variant, the Mainz vaccine manufacturer is also working on the development of an adapted vaccine – preventively in the event that it might become necessary. The first interim results of the investigations that have been ongoing since last Thursday are not yet available, said the company boss. Nobody should lose their nerve because of Omikron, it is now a matter of giving everyone booster vaccinations as quickly as possible, said Sahin in an interview with the “Wall Street Journal”.

Omikron could lead to more infections, but the vaccine launched by Biontech and Pfizer had good protection against serious diseases in other variants as well. Much more skeptical statements by Moderna boss Stephane Bancel about the effectiveness of the previous vaccines against Omikron had burdened the stock exchanges on Tuesday. Bancel said in the Financial Times that existing vaccines are likely to have problems with the Omikron variant. It will probably take longer before adapted vaccines can be produced in sufficient quantities.

Vaccines have two protective mechanisms

Sahin told the Wall Street Journal that after vaccination, the body produces antibodies and T-cells that are used for immune defense. If the variant is better at outsmarting the antibodies, the T cells still remain as protection against severe disease. It is hardly conceivable that one variant could bypass both protective mechanisms.

US experts like the immunologist and presidential advisor Anthony Fauci have been emphasizing for days that the existing vaccinations will to a certain extent protect against serious disease and death, even in the face of the new variant. So far, however, it is unclear how much less their protective effect will be, said Fauci on Tuesday. The pertinent tests were currently running.

Reference-www.tagesschau.de

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