omicron: Vaccine makers could make Omicron-specific booster, Fauci . says

WASHINGTON: Covid-19 vaccine makers have contingency plans to cope with the Omicron variant that includes a combination vaccine against the original version and the variant, as well as a variant-specific booster dose, a top United States health official said on Friday.
The US government is working with Modern, Pfizer and J&J on multiple contingency plans, infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci told reporters at a White House briefing.
“One is to ramp up the production of the vaccines they already have. The next is to make a bivalent, for example, where you have the vaccine against both the ancestral strain and the new variant, and the other is to create a variant.” specific boost,” Fauci said.
“They now assume that they may have to do that and are being prepared for that,” he added.
Data from a National Institutes of Health study strongly suggests that existing boosters provide cross-protection against a number of variants, including Omicron, Fauci said.
“While we haven’t proven it yet, there’s every reason to believe that if you get vaccinated and get a boost, you’ll have at least some degree of cross-protection, very likely against serious disease, even against the Omicron variety. ”
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is working with local authorities to investigate suspected cases of the Omicron variant in states other than those where cases have already been reported, director Rochelle Walensky said at the briefing.
Cases of Omicron have been discovered in about 40 countries, she said, but the Delta variant remains the dominant species in the United States.
“I know the news is focused on Omicron. But we must remember that 99.9% of cases in the country right now are from the Delta variant. Delta continues to send cases across the country, especially among those who have not been vaccinated,” she said. .

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