Updated: January 11, 2022 8:57:48 am
A new study by researchers at the Faridabad-based Translational Health Science and Technology Institute (THSTI) has found people with vaccination, as well as with prior infection, had significantly reduced capability to neutralise the Omicron variant compared to the original variant.
The study was carried out on 80 patients, half of whom had been vaccinated with Covishield or Covaxin. The other half had also been infected with the virus earlier, besides being vaccinated.
The study showed that the ability of the antibodies to neutralise the virus was significantly lower against the Omicron variant, compared to Delta or the original variant. But those who had hybrid immunity – vaccinated as well as with prior infection – showed better ability at neutralising the Omicron variant, compared to those who were only vaccinated.
“However, reduction in neutralisation may not translate into drastic reduction in vaccine effectiveness. We have to give a balanced message to people, that in general, the body’s own defence mechanism even before vaccines was good enough to prevent symptomatic infections in a large majority of people. Among those clinically infected, a large majority had mild disease, due to natural immune defence mechanism in humans,” Dr Pramod Garg, executive director of THSTI, said.
“Even against Omicron, vaccination prevents severe disease in 80 to 90 per cent of the people,” he said.
There was no difference in the neutralisation between the two types of vaccines tested in the study.
Guruprasad Medigeshi, lead author of the study, along with other researchers have said that the drop in neutralisation might be alarming but not unexpected as the virus is under strong positive selection and new variants are likely to emerge in future, adding that not all variants would have the potential to cause another pandemic.
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