Why The Existing Vaccines Are Not Effective On Omicron? Do We Need A New Vaccine?

by Shatakshi Gupta

The extreme mutation of the new variant of the COVID-19 virus, Omicron, has alarmed the whole world. This new variant is being said to be more dangerous than Delta, which devastated the whole world, because so far 50 mutations have occurred in Omicron.

Due to Omicron’s ability to mutate very rapidly, the question stands whether the current corona vaccine will be effective on this new variant? 

Recently, British company Moderna has said that the current vaccine is likely to be less effective against Omicron.

Why existing vaccines are ineffective?

Omicron is said to be the fastest mutation virus ever. WHO has placed it in the category of Variant of Concern. There have been 30 mutations in its spike protein itself. Actually, it is through the spike protein that the virus opens the way to enter human cells. The vaccine prepares the body to fight against it by producing antibodies against the spike protein itself. More mutations in Omicron’s spike protein have raised concerns about how effective current vaccines will be against it.

Also, the existing vaccines have been designed according to the original corona virus strain that surfaced in Wuhan, China, while Omicron’s strain is completely different from it.  This is the reason why this new variant of the existing vaccine is expected to have little or no effect at all.

Why Moderna warned about Omicron?

Moderna has said that the current vaccine against Omicron is expected to be less effective, amid discussions about the ineffectiveness of the vaccine against Corona’s new variant Omicron. Moderna CEO told the Financial Times that current vaccines may be less effective against Omicron than earlier strains of corona.

Also read: How Dangerous Is Omicron Variant Of Coronavirus? What Government is Planning And What You Should Do?

Bensel also warned that it could take months for pharmaceutical companies to manufacture large-scale vaccine doses against the new variant. Omicron’s potential for sharp mutations in the spike protein may require pharma companies to modify existing vaccines next year, he said.

Omicron’s new vaccine

 Amidst the discussion on Omicron about the less effective or completely ineffectiveness of the existing vaccine, talk of bringing a new vaccine for it has started.  British company Moderna has said that if needed, the vaccine of this new variant can come in the early months of 2022. Moderna has already made mRNA vaccine of Corona. Moderna’s chief medical officer, Paul Burton, has said his company could launch an mRNA vaccine to combat Omicron early next year, if needed.

At the same time, Pfizer has said that if needed, it can make a new vaccine against Omicron in six weeks and make its initial dose available within 100 days.

Vaccines approved by WHO

The World Health Organization (WHO) has so far approved the use of a total of eight corona vaccines worldwide. The eight vaccines currently being used for corona can be divided into three categories.

One is the messenger RNA vaccine, the other is the viral vector vaccine and the third is the inactivated vaccine.