India / Our vaccines may become ineffective in view of Omicron: NITI Aayog's VK Paul

Zoom News : Dec 15, 2021, 03:16 PM
New Delhi: Amid the Omicron threat, Niti Aayog member Dr VK Paul on Tuesday said that there is a potential scenario that our COVID-19 vaccines may become ineffective and India should have vaccine platforms that are 'adaptable quickly' with changing nature of the coronavirus variants.

Addressing an event organised by industry body CII, the COVID Task Force chief called for modifying the vaccines every year.

"How soon can we create a vaccine which is using the same platform, but is now targeted to the variant of the day.

"...we have to be ready to be able to have a situation where resiliently we are able to modify the vaccines as they require. This may not happen every three months, but this could happen every year perhaps," Dr Paul said while expressing concern over the changing nature of the COVID variants.

His statement comes after the new variant of COVID-19 called B.1.1.529, which was first reported to the World Health Organization (WHO) from South Africa on November 24. It is likely to be more transmissible than the Delta variant.

Currently, Covshield, Covaxin and Sputnik V vaccines are being administered in India. Zydus Cadila: Zydus Cadila's ZyCoV-D vaccine against Covid-19 has been given approval by India's regulatory authority on August 20. The three-dose DNA built vaccine is expected to be available in January 2022.

India’s cumulative COVID-19 vaccination coverage has exceeded 134 crore, the Union health ministry informed today.

The WHO has also raised serious concerns on Omicron and said that the new COVID variant is more transmissible than the Delta strain and reduces vaccine efficacy.

Early evidence suggests Omicron causes "a reduction in vaccine efficacy against infection and transmission", the WHO said, adding that "given the current available data, it is likely that Omicron will outpace the Delta variant where community transmission occurs."