Omicron may bypass vaccines: AIIMS chief

AIIMS chief Dr Randeep Guelria
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AIIMS chief Dr Randeep Guelria

Highlights

  • China may record over 6.3 lakh daily cases
  • 5K Kerala teachers yet to take vaccine: Min

New Delhi: The new Omicron variant of coronavirus has reportedly got over 30 mutations in the spike protein region giving it the potential to develop a immunoescape mechanism, and thus the efficacy of vaccines against it needs to be evaluated critically, AIIMS chief Dr Randeep Guelria has said.

The presence of spike protein facilitates a virus' entry into the host cell and is responsible for making it transmissible and causing infection. "The new variant of coronavirus reportedly has got more than 30 mutations at the spike protein region and therefore has the potential of developing immunoescape mechanisms. As most vaccines (work by) forming antibodies against the spike protein, so many mutations at the spike protein region may lead to a decreased efficacy of COVID-19 vaccines," AIIMS Director Dr Randeep Guelria told PTI.

China is expected to continue its much-criticised Zero Covid policy, shutting the country to most of the world as a new study has warned of a "colossal outbreak" with over 6.30 lakh patients per day if it opens up.

According to a report by the Peking University mathematicians, China could face more than 630,000 coronavirus infections a day if it dropped its zero-tolerance approach and followed other countries by lifting travel bans.

"The estimates revealed the real possibility of a colossal outbreak which would almost certainly put an unbearable burden on the medical system," the report said.

Kerala Education Minister, V. Sivankutty on Sunday said that more than 5,000 teachers of the state have not yet inoculated themselves. He said that this could not be justified and that the security of children is of prime importance to the government.

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