Vaccines do not work on newer coronavirus omicron sub-variants: Study

A study in the New England Journal of Medicine found that the more recent Omicron subvariants of SARS-CoV-2 significantly evade the neutralizing antibodies produced by both vaccination and previous infection. According to the researchers, the study provides the immunological context for current outbreaks in high-vaccination populations and infection histories.

Researchers from the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) in Israel examined the antibody response to several SARS-CoV-2 Omicron subvariants in 27 people who had received vaccinations and booster injections, as well as in 27 people who had previously contracted COVID-19.

Since the first highly contagious SARS-CoV-2 Omicron variant — known as BA.1 — of COVID-19 emerged in 2021, the new subvariants continue to evolve.

The three Omicron subvariants BA.2.12.1, BA.4 and BA.5 were found to significantly evade neutralizing antibodies produced by both vaccination and previous infection. Neutralizing antibody responses to BA.4 and BA.5 were three-fold lower than those on the Omicron BA.1 and BA.2 variants and were approximately 20-fold lower than those on the original WA1/2020 strain.

“Our findings suggest that the Omicron variants have continued to evolve,” said senior author Dan H Barouch, director of the Center for Vaccine and Virology Research at BIDMC.

“This has important public health implications and provides the immunological context for current increases among populations with high vaccination rates and previous infections,” Barouch said.

The researchers argued that newly developed variations may be more contagious and more successfully overcome the immune defenses of previous infections or vaccinations.

Meanwhile, it has been reported that subsequent COVID-19 booster injections are likely to be updated for omicron. believe they can only provide significant benefits for elderly and immunocompromised individuals.

On June 24, India registered 17,336 new daily infections of the coronavirus, the health ministry said Friday, the highest single-day increase since February 20, according to a Reuters tally.

Maharashtra registered more than 5,200 new infections on Wednesday, state authorities said, 2,479 of them from the financial capital Mumbai.

Daily infections in India have risen in the past month and the number announced Friday was an increase of more than 4,000 from Thursday, which stood at 13,313.

The number of daily deaths from COVID-19 rose by 13, the ministry said, bringing the total number of deaths to 524,954.

(With PTI inputs)

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