'Don't freak out' over omicron, says scientist behind Pfizer jab

Asia's Tech News Daily

Dr Ugur Sahin, a co-founder of Bio NTech, said that while the new variant might evade human antibodies, the virus would likely remain vulnerable to attack by T-cells. – Bernd von Jutrczenka/dpa via AP, Pool, file

The scientist behind the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccination has said he remains optimistic that the jab will provide protection against severe disease triggered by the new omicron variant.

Dr Ugur Sahin, a co-founder of Bio NTech, said that while the new variant might evade human antibodies, the virus would likely remain vulnerable to attack by T-cells and other parts of the immune system.

“Our message is: Don’t freak out, the plan remains the same: Speed up the administration of a third booster shot,” Dr Sahin said in an interview with the Wall Street Journal on Tuesday.

The Prime Minister Boris Johnson echoed this view during a Downing Street press conference, insisting that there are good grounds for believing booster vaccinations will give “considerable protection” against the omicron variant.

His comments came as laboratories across the world race to create clones of omicron in order to understand the extent to which it might evade existing Covid-19 vaccines and treatments.

“What we're looking for is the first real reassurance that we need that the vaccines are efficacious against this variant,” Mr Johnson said. “Even if the efficacy… is reduced it's still very important to know whether they're effective or not. And in particular we need to know quite how effective the boosters are.

“We think there are good grounds for believing that the boosters will give you, under all circumstances, the protection that you need. Considerable protection,” he added.

The prime minister’s encouragement chimed with the opinion of many experts but stood in contrast to the view imparted by Stéphane Bancel, chief executive of the vaccine maker Moderna.

A 'material drop' in vaccine effectiveness

Mr Bancel predicted there would be a “material drop” in the effectiveness of existing shots because of the high number of mutations in the spike protein of omicron.

Hours later it was announced that early laboratory testing indicated that omicron may hamper the ability of Regeneron’s monoclonal antibody drug to treat Covid-19.

“There is no world, I think, where [the effectiveness] is the same level, ” Mr Bancel told the Financial Times. “I think it’s going to be a material drop. I just don’t know how much because we need to wait for the data. But all the scientists I’ve talked to . . . are like, ‘This is not going to be good’.”

The first laboratory data will start to become available over the next few days and weeks.

In institutions across the world, scientists are racing to create copies of omicron so they can test it against human blood samples containing Covid antibodies.

Teams at Oxford, BioNTech and Moderna are all involved, as are scientists in government and university labs from South Africa to London.

Prof Jonathan Ball, professor of molecular virology at the University of Nottingham said lab tests would provide a good indication of how existing vaccines held up against antibodies. But “real-world” data on hospitalisations would be needed to judge omicron’s impact on severe disease.

Any tweaked omicron vaccine still months away

Lab data would start to become available within days or weeks but would need to be “interpreted with caution”, said Prof Ball.

Lab tests were likely to show some reduction in effectiveness and if this was at the levels seen with previous variants scientists would be “reassured”.

Larger falls in effectiveness in lab tests would cause “worry but not panic”, as it would still be likely the vaccines protected against severe disease, he said.

If drug companies like Moderna and Pfizer needed to produce omicron-specific vaccines, it would be months before they could be produced at scale, said Mr Bancel.

“[Moderna] and Pfizer cannot get a billion doses next week. The maths doesn’t work. But could we get the billion doses out by the summer? Sure,” he said.

This broadly aligns with the “six month” timeline to produce omicron specific vaccines given to The Telegraph by Sir John Bell, regius professor of medicine at Oxford University, last week.

“I think you could turn around a new vaccine using the mRNA technology in three to four months… the [Oxford] adenovirus platform would take a little bit longer, six months, shall we say. But then you've got to scale up the manufacturing, you’ve got to get it deployed, you've got to get it approved”, he said.

Protect yourself and your family by learning more about Global Health Security

Internet Explorer Channel Network
Asia's Tech News Daily
News Related

OTHER NEWS

COVID 4th jab: Antibodies rise, not enough to prevent Omicron infection

© (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST) Israelis receiving their fourth vaccine, January 3, 2022. The fourth dose of the Pfizer vaccine increases the level of antibodies in the ... Read more »

Anti-trolling advocates to front inquiry

Anti-trolling campaigner and journalist Erin Molan will join online safety advocates at a third hearing into how social media can be made safer for users. The former Channel Nine presenter ... Read more »

Zahawi shuts down rumours of policy push to save PM

Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi denies an operation is under way to save Boris Johnson amid claims of Downing Street parties. Read more »

Goodwill claims it was hit by data breach

American nonprofit Goodwill has suffered a data breach that is affecting the users of its ShopGoodwill.com e-commerce auction platform. Reports say the company’s platform has had an exploitable vulnerability which ... Read more »

Microsoft Edge is bringing back a classic feature, but with a modern twist

Microsoft is trialling new functionality for web browser Edge that expands upon the RSS-style Followable Web feature, which landed recently in early-access. As part of an A/B testing process, the ... Read more »

Global ecommerce payments are set to soar in the next few years

The value of global ecommerce payment transactions is on track to exceed $7.5 trillion by 2026, according to a new report from Juniper Research. This represents a growth rate increasing ... Read more »

JBL Tune 230NC review

30-second review The JBL Tune 230NC aren’t the priciest true wireless earbuds in JBL’s collection, but they do deliver a solid overall performance for under $100 / £100. The stem-style ... Read more »

Genetic risk factor found for Covid-19 smell and taste loss, researchers say

Six months after contracting Covid, as many as 1.6 million people in the U.S. are still unable to smell or have experienced a change in their ability to smell. Read more »

Kasus Omicron Jakarta Tembus 825, Transmisi Lokal Melonjak 90 Orang

© Copyright (c) 2016 TEMPO.CO foto TEMPO.CO, Jakarta – Temuan kasus Covid-19 varian Omicron di Jakarta melonjak lagi. Wakil Gubernur DKI Jakarta Ahmad Riza Patria menyebut total 825 kasus Omicron ... Read more »

Full Moon 2022: How to see January ‘Wolf Moon' as it rises over clear UK skies

Space Moon Satellites (Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved) The UK will be treated to a rare spectacle on Monday evening, as the peak of a full moon ... Read more »

This dangerous malware affects nearly all devices, and somehow remained undetected until now

Cybersecurity researchers have uncovered a Remote Access Trojan (RAT), that’s been flying under antivirus programs’ radars for at least half a year and targeting, at least, education institutions. As reported ... Read more »

Your older iPhone may have an accessibility feature the iPhone 13 doesn't

We’re used to new models of phones adding helpful features, but it’s less common to find them removed, yet that seems to be exactly what’s happened with the iPhone 13 ... Read more »

Zoho People review

Zoho can trace its origins back to 1996, when it started under the name AdvanceNet as a private corporation which it remains to this day. Some of its software products ... Read more »

How to snap a screenshot on your iPhone: Talking Tech podcast

Hit play on the player above to hear the podcast and follow along with the transcript below. This transcript was automatically generated, and then edited for clarity in its current ... Read more »

Samsung Galaxy Tab A8 goes on sale in India: Price, launch offers and more

Samsung Galaxy Tab A8 is now available in India. Samsung recently expanded its Android tablet lineup with the launch of Samsung Galaxy Tab A8 in India. The Android tablet is ... Read more »

Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 leak suggests it should be cheaper or come with a charger

Just a day after an enormous leak spilled the beans on most of the key details of the Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 range, there’s now another leak, one which reiterates ... Read more »

China tech crackdown: at least 25 large online tutoring firms closed up shop in 2021

At least 25 large Chinese online education firms closed up shop in 2021 after the government banned for-profit private tutoring, according to data compiled by Chinese research firm 100EC. Of ... Read more »

The hidden limits of 'unlimited' web hosting

Looking to build a website? Hundreds of web hosting providers are ready to battle for your business, and most are happy to promise you ‘unlimited’ resources. You’ll get unlimited disk ... Read more »

AMD is raising the price of its EPYC CPUs, but favorite customers escape the hike

AMD is raising the price of its EPYC server processors by a significant margin due to supply uncertainties caused by the global chip shortage, a new report suggests. Authored by ... Read more »

How to change your home Xbox

Changing your home Xbox is an easy way for you to save all of your important settings, while also sharing your games and apps with other users who sign in ... Read more »

Asteroids could be approaching Earth undetected as NASA scientists find a danger zone that allows space rocks to 'sneak up' on telescopes because of a quirk of the planet's daily rotation

A football-pitch-wide asteroid passed within 43,500 miles of Earth back in 2019However, astronomers only spotted it 24 hours before its closest approachExperts led from the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa investigated why this wasThey found that some approaching objects appear almost stationary in the skyThis occurs when movement east is exactly counteracted by the Earth's rotation Apparently stationary/slow moving objects don't set off early warning systemsAutomated telescopes need updating to compensate, the team concluded  Read more »

Covid news – live: Scrapping travel tests ‘risks lockdown' as England's new isolation rules begin

LIVE – Updated at 13:53 The testing industry has warned that scrapping tests could trigger “hard lockdowns” just as reports emerge suggesting all current testing requirements could soon be dropped ... Read more »

Why the metaverse will have you hooked onto a blockchain

You may think will be a bunch of interconnected virtual spaces – the world wide web but accessed through virtual reality. This is largely correct, but there is also a ... Read more »

Classic File Manager from 1990 gets remade for Windows 11

The first iteration of managing your files and folders has been remade and released for Windows 10 and Windows 11 users, giving you a useful alternative to Windows Explorer. File ... Read more »

AMD could turbocharge RX 6000 GPUs with faster memory

AMD could be set to refresh some of its current RX 6000 Series graphics cards, perhaps boosting them with faster memory going by the latest from the GPU grapevine. This ... Read more »

AT&T and T-Mobile secure more spectrum in $22bn US 5G auction

AT&T, Dish Network and T-Mobile were the big winners at the most recent auction of 5G spectrum in the US. The Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) sale of mid-range 3.45GHz licences ... Read more »

Bulletproof vest material helps this lithium-sulfur battery quintuple EV range

Lithium-sulphur batteries may well be the next generation of power cells that we use in our electric vehicles — if scientists can get them to last longer. And that’s exactly ... Read more »

God of War developer says it's 'awesome' the game can be played with an Xbox controller

A Sony Santa Monica developer has said that it’s “awesome” that God of War now supports Xbox controllers via the PC version of the game. Speaking to Game Informer, senior ... Read more »

India's overall economic activity remains strong, says RBI article

Representational image. India’s overall economic activity remains strong, driven by an upbeat consumer confidence and uptick in bank credit, and expectations that Omicron may turn out to be a “flash ... Read more »

New planet as big as Jupiter discovered by ‘citizen scientists'

(NASA/JPL-Caltech/R. Hurt) A group of citizen scientists and astronomers have found a new planet the size of Jupiter. The enormous world, called TOI-2180 b, is located 379 light-years away and ... Read more »

Apple's biggest iPhone plant woos workers with fat bonuses amid Omicron outbreak in central China

The world’s largest iPhone factory is offering former workers extra cash to return to its production line, as a local Omicron Covid-19 outbreak disrupts travel to the central Chinese city ... Read more »

These are all the best furniture deals you can get at Target, Wayfair, Macy's and more

— Recommendations are independently chosen by Reviewed’s editors. Purchases you make through our links may earn us a commission. If you want to redecorate your interiors for the new year, ... Read more »

Climate-related deaths fall in England and Wales - ONS

Ambulances at St Thomas’ hospital, London Climate-related deaths in England and Wales fell between 2001 and 2020, according to a new analysis of data by the Office of National Statistics. ... Read more »

Google and Facebook reportedly struck a secret deal to consolidate the ad market

Google and Facebook are potentially in trouble after newly unsealed court documents revealed the two companies, which you might assume are tense rivals, actually signed a secret bid to consolidate ... Read more »

Ini Alasan PKS Minta Pembahasan RUU Ibu Kota Negara Ditunda

© Copyright (c) 2016 TEMPO.CO foto TEMPO.CO, Jakarta – Juru bicara PKS Muhammad Iqbal menilai pemilihan Kalimantan Timur sebagai ibu kota negara terlalu terburu-buru dan bukan agenda prioritas pemerintah saat ... Read more »

Safari 15 may have a serious security flaw, and there's no patch in sight

Security experts have uncovered a major flaw in the latest version of Apple’s internet browser which is leaking browsing history and even some identity data saved in associated Google accounts. ... Read more »

Apple's MR headset is sounding less and less appealing by the day

Even more rumors suggest that Apple’s mixed-reality headset could be priced at over $2,000 at launch (around £1,500 / AU$2,750). While Apple has yet to officially announce its VR and ... Read more »

Apple may make these changes to iPad Pro and iPad Air in 2022

Apple is reportedly planning to launch a fifth-generation iPad Air soon. According to a report by Japanese blog Mac Otakara, the tech giant will likely launch the new iPad Air ... Read more »

Chingari raises $15 million funding from Republic Capital, others

Short-video platform Chingari on Monday said it has raised USD 15 million (about Rs 111.4 crore) in funding led by Republic Capital. The extended Series A round also saw participation ... Read more »

Agritech startup DeHaat acquires Helicrofter

Agritech startup DeHaat on Monday said it has acquired Maharashtra-based B2B agri-input marketplace startup called Helicrofter, for an undisclosed sum.With the integration of Helicrofter, encompassing over 2,000 agri-input retailers and ... Read more »
On free-english-test.com you will find lots of free English exam practice materials to help you improve your English skills: grammar, listening, reading, writing, ielts, toeic