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What AIIMS director says on Omicron covid variant

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Omicron Covid variant has the governments across the world scrambling in panic with several countries announcing new travel restrictions to prevent an outbreak. According to AIIMS Director Dr Randeep Guleria, the new variant has the potential of developing “immunoescape mechanisms” which may lead to a decreased efficacy of Covid-19 vaccines, news agency PTI reported.

He further added that the efficacy of vaccines including those in use in India needs to be evaluated ‘critically’

Dr Guleria said it has been reported that Omicron has over 30 mutations in the spike protein region. “The new variant of coronavirus reportedly has got more than 30 mutations at the spike protein region and therefore has the potential of developing immune escape 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,” Guelria told PTI.

Meanwhile, PM Modi said: “We all should stay alert in view of the new variant of Covid-19″.

 

The new variant has first been detected in South Africa on November 24. It has since been identified in Botswana, Belgium, Hong Kong and Israel among other countries. The World Health Organization (WHO) has identified it as a variant of concern.

The Centre has asked all states and UTs to focus on intensive containment, active surveillance, enhanced testing, monitoring of hotspots, increased coverage of vaccination and augmentation of health infrastructure.

With 8,309 people testing positive for the coronavirus infection in a day, India’s tally of COVID-19 cases rose to 3,45,80,832, while the active cases have declined to 1,03,859, the lowest in 544 days, according to the Union Health Ministry data updated on Monday.

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