An official from Europe’s high medical product regulation company stated Tuesday that the COVID-19 omicron variant could also be pushing the pandemic into changing into endemic.
Marco Cavaleri, head of vaccine technique for the European Medicines Company (EMA), advised reporters on Tuesday that that the pure immunity conferred by the highly-infectious omicron pressure could also be fast-tracking the progress in direction of endemicity.
“With the rise of immunity in inhabitants – and with Omicron, there shall be plenty of pure immunity going down on high of vaccination – we shall be fast-paced in direction of a state of affairs that shall be nearer to endemicity,” Cavaleri stated throughout a media briefing, in response to Al Jazeera.
When a virus turns into endemic it means a inhabitants has gained sufficient widespread immunity — both from an infection or vaccination — that transmissions, hospitalizations and deaths will begin to go down.
Reviews from South Africa, the place omicron was first detected, have indicated that whereas the variant is highly-infectious, it doesn’t lead to a corresponding spike in hospitalizations and deaths. One other South African examine launched final month discovered that omicron could scale back infections attributable to the delta variant by constructing cross-immunity to completely different strains, an impact that has not been noticed in lots of different mutations of the SARS-CoV-2 virus.
Throughout his briefing on Tuesday, Reuters reported that Cavaleri additionally expressed doubts concerning the necessity for a fourth COVID-19 vaccine dose, telling the reporters that such an method was not “sustainable.”
“Whereas use of extra boosters might be a part of contingency plans, repeated vaccinations inside brief intervals wouldn’t symbolize a sustainable long-term technique,” he stated.
“It will be important that there’s a good dialogue across the selection of the composition of the vaccine to ensure that we have now a technique that’s not simply reactive … and attempt to give you an method that shall be appropriate with a purpose to stop a future variant,” he added.
Cavaleri’s remarks echo these of British infectious illness knowledgeable Sir Andrew Pollard who stated earlier this month that repeated vaccination each few months was “not sustainable.”
Pollard, who helped to develop the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine, stated, “It’s really not reasonably priced, sustainable or in all probability even wanted to vaccinate everybody on the planet each 4 to 6 months.”
“We have not even managed to vaccinate everybody in Africa with one dose so we’re definitely not going to get to some extent the place fourth doses for everybody is manageable,” he added.