ANSWER DESK: Doctors weigh in on vaccine’s efficacy against variant | Connecticut News
HARTFORD, CT (WFSB) — Concerns are being raised about whether the COVID vaccine can stand up to the omicron variant.
Moderna’s CEO says current vaccines may not be enough for the new strain of concern. But others aren’t as worried.
While there may not be enough data to make any definitive conclusions, doctors, including at Hartford Hospital, believe the vaccine should still be somewhat effective.
“We really don’t know much at this point,” said Dr. Ulysses Wu, system director of infectious disease at Hartford HealthCare.
Researchers are still gathering data on omicron, the latest COVID variant of concern.
One question is will the vaccine work?
Doctors are still waiting for more cases before making conclusions.
”There are about 30 mutations in the spike protein and about 10 mutations on the end of the spike protein, which allows the virus to attach to the body and that might make it stickier and might make it look different enough so that antibodies from the vaccine or from natural immunity don’t recognize it,” said Dr. Peter Chin-Hong, UCSF professor of medicine & infectious disease specialist.
But not everyone is sounding the alarms. BioNTech, the German company that worked with Pfizer on its vaccine, is more confident.
“With this virus, we’ve learned it’s kind of difficult to look into our crystal ball, but we can anticipate that vaccine will likely have some impact against omicron,” said Kevin Dieckhaus, chief of infectious diseases at UConn Health.
Local doctors think vaccines will still offer some level of protection against omicron, even if it’s less. Researchers are also trying to get a sense of how serious the new strain is.
What do we know about the cases we’ve seen so far?
“It’s probably going to be more transmissible, seems to be affecting more young people, seems to be more mild at this point,” Wu said.
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