The case for updating covid-19 vaccines for the Omicron variant

A new study puts the variant in a group apart from its predecessors

1/11/2022 4:18:00 PM

Researchers at universities and government agencies in the Netherlands found that Omicron would count as the first of a new group of the SARS-CoV-2 pathogen. Whereas previous variants cluster in a single group

A new study puts the variant in a group apart from its predecessors

ARIANTS VARY, but how much? Since SARS-CoV-2 was first sequenced at the beginning of 2020 dozens of strains have been identified. And five have been designated “variants of concern” by the World Health Organisation (WHO). The latest of these is Omicron, which was given its name in November last year. As Omicron becomes dominant around the world, working out how to

from it is becoming more pressing. To do this, scientists must study how different this strain is from those that came before and what that means for immunity, from both previous infection and vaccination.The Economist todayHandpicked stories, in your inbox

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from the original b.1.1 variant... there's an idea that it' coulda' jumped into mice and jumped back out again to give us omicron... kinda' bizarre.. trying to explain the ineffectiveness of the vax? How about just nomandates?

Don't panic about 'Deltacron': it might be mixed samples, scientistsExperts have poured cold water on claims from Cyprus that a new 'Deltacron' Covid variant combining Omicron and Delta has emerged instead saying it is likely a case of laboratory contamination. I know we all probably might have heard about Bitcoin but don't know how it works, I tried it in a week ago by a man who recommended me to Derrick_Jones39 on Twitter he guides me through and i made a return of $10500 after a week of trading, connect with him For all those who are new to this working from home Bitcoin trading options Here's a little tip: Get a trusted Bitcoin expert and stick to her Derrick_Jones39 Invest and play at similar times each day. Because : In times of chaos, your investment is your anchor to success⚖️

WHO: More than 50% of Europeans face being infected with Omicron CovidWHO regional director Hans Kluge warned on Tuesday that the Omicron Covid variant represented a 'new west-to-east tidal wave sweeping across' the European region. More good news - I can't keep up. I’ve stayed home. I’m not liking this virus even Pfizer isn’t fool proof but it’s done better than Ox-AZ. Shame we didn’t just make Pfizer’s drug increase capacity here and just make one vaccine. That’s why it failed. Wow. This REALLY means that it’s working.

20m people in strict China lockdown after Omicron case confirmed | ITV NewsChina has stepped up its strict zero-Covid policy ahead of the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing. | ITV National News Their living in a fantasy world OOOOOOO.... shiver me timbers... 🤣🤣🤣🙄🤣🤣😎 They love locking people down over there. That's where Sturgeon gets it from.

India begins booster shots as Covid-19 cases surgeFrontline workers and vulnerable adults will get booster jabs as the country battles a spike in cases. don't drgauravchandra more stress on our nhs…….

BBC Two - Newsnight, The wall of hearts: 150,000 hearts for each life lost to Covid-19More than 150,000 hearts have been painted on the National Covid Memorial Wall at the South Bank. Volunteers, many of whom lost family members to coronavirus, are repainting some of the red hearts which faded over time. ❤️ See more: 📸 Getty Images So beautiful and emotional! 😢 peterjukes Your memory will not fade

What COVID-19 Vaccine Should My 11-Year-Old Get?My child is turning 12. Which COVID-19 vaccine should they get? all of them! because... why not! NONE. None!

V ARIANTS VARY , but how much? Since SARS-CoV-2 was first sequenced at the beginning of 2020 dozens of strains have been identified. And five have been designated “variants of concern” by the World Health Organisation ( WHO ). The latest of these is Omicron, which was given its name in November last year. As Omicron becomes dominant around the world, working out how to from it is becoming more pressing. To do this, scientists must study how different this strain is from those that came before and what that means for immunity, from both previous infection and vaccination. The Economist today Handpicked stories, in your inbox A daily newsletter with the best of our journalism Sign up One question occupying scientists and politicians is whether vaccines would work even better if they were updated to deal with new strains. Up to and including the Delta variant, which was first identified in India and was designated a variant of concern in May 2021, the answer has been “no”. But new research , which has mapped differences between all major versions of SARS-CoV-2, suggests that, although administering existing vaccines is still useful, Omicron is so different from other strains that the answer might now be “yes”. Researchers at universities and government agencies in the Netherlands acquired blood samples collected from 51 unvaccinated people shortly after they had been infected with various strains of SARS-CoV-2. These were the original, referred to as the “ancestral strain”, as well as the later Alpha, Beta, Gamma and Delta variants. (Omicron samples were not available.) The researchers then assessed the neutralising capacity, or antibody response, of those samples against different versions of the virus, again using the ancestral strain, Alpha, Beta, Gamma and Delta and, this time, Omicron. By measuring the antibody responses of the serum of each individual against the various variants, the researchers were able to position both the viruses and the serum samples on an “antigenic map”, which is used to study how mutations make viruses more or less different from the ancestral strain over time, in a process known as “antigenic drift”. In such maps a one-unit distance is equivalent to a two-fold change in neutralisation titre (a measure of the concentration of antibodies in the blood needed for neutralisation of a virus). Samples plotted closer together are more similar. Going by a measure conventionally used to group influenza viruses—a distance of three or fewer antigenic units—the researchers found that Omicron would count as the first of a new group of the SARS-CoV-2 pathogen. Whereas all widely circulating variants before it cluster in a single group, being less than three units apart from each other, Omicron is more than five units away from all others. A preprint of this research was uploaded to medRxiv, a research portal, on January 3rd but has not yet been peer-reviewed. And the authors of the study have also cautioned that their methodology varied slightly from that conventionally used to map influenza. Nevertheless they conclude that “the change in neutralisation between Omicron and other variants of SARS-CoV-2, including the ancestral strain, is striking.” (A , published on the same day in Cell