WHO cautions new Covid variants could arise that are completely resistant to vaccines as pandemic pulls on
It was announced Wednesday by the World Health Organization that new coronavirus variations might arise during the epidemic, rendering existing vaccinations ineffective or even harmful.
“As the global epidemic drags on, the new variants may evade our defensive measures and become completely resistant to conventional vaccines or previous infection, necessitating vaccine adaptations,” said Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization, at a press conference in Geneva on Tuesday.
Tedros issued the warning after Covid cases reached record levels in various countries, including the United States.
With the development of the new and highly transmissible omicron strain, the recent increase in Covid cases has occurred more than 21 months after the World Health Organization proclaimed it a pandemic.
Mr. Tedros underlined his regular pleas for governments to collaborate to boost global supply and access to Covid vaccines and other critical healthcare supplies and equipment.
He also criticized certain political leaders’ “populism” and “short-term nationalism,” which he said had “undermined equality and produced the right circumstances for the rise of new varieties.”
In a statement, the global health leader said that “misinformation and disinformation, frequently conveyed by just a tiny number of individuals, have been a continual distraction, weakening research and belief in vital health technologies.”
Specifically, he said that “with the massive waves of cases being observed in Europe and many other places across the globe, misinformation that has fueled vaccination reluctance is now translating into a disproportionate number of deaths among the unprotected.”
According to experts, covid vaccinations such as those manufactured by Pfizer and BioNTech are still effective in avoiding the severe sickness caused by omicron. Despite this, they are far less efficient in preventing infection from omicron than previously thought.
On the other hand, a booster injection provides a large improvement in protection against symptomatic illness caused by omicron.
The development of a vaccine-resistant strain of the virus would need the modification of vaccines by producers, which “may result in a fresh supply shortfall,” Tedros said on Wednesday.
Before that can happen, countries must first build up their local vaccine production capacity.
According to Tedros, “If we do not enhance our collective reaction, this virus will continue to develop and pose a danger to our healthcare system.” The fact that omicron is more transmissible than delta and circulates simultaneously as delta has me frightened that a tsunami of instances is on the way.
He said that vaccination supplies are improving while also reiterating his concern that the booster-shot programs of wealthy countries make it more difficult for underdeveloped countries to receive vaccines. This rising disparity has the potential to prolong the epidemic.
Despite the persistent public-health hazard and the likelihood of future obstacles, Tedros said he is “optimistic” that the acute stage of the pandemic would be over by 2022, according to the WHO.
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