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Expert Sees 2 Vaccine Options Versus Omicron

Expert Sees 2 Vaccine Options Versus Omicron
A medical worker prepares a Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine against COVID-19 at an inoculation site in Makati City on Nov. 29, 2021. Photo by AFP

In case vaccine efficacy is decreased by the Omicron variant, a member of the Vaccine Expert Panel (VEP) is recommending two options that may be taken to fight the highly mutated coronavirus strain first reported in South Africa.

In an interview with “The Chiefs” on One News last Monday, Nov. 29, VEP member Dr. Rontgene Solante noted that hope is not lost in case the Omicron variant will have an impact on the efficacy of vaccines.

He explained that there are two options available: adjust the formulation of the jabs or increase the dosage.

“You make formulation of vaccines that you include the mutation of the new variant. We call that variant-specific vaccine,” Solante said, pointing out that doing so will take two to three months.

The other option is booster dosing in case the antibodies generated by the vaccines gets lower. “They will just tweak it. They will recommend double dose shot, like double or triple the dosage,” he said.

According to Solante, what is “vital” with the Omicron variant is the numerous mutations, estimated at around 50, seen in its spike protein or the part of the virus that attaches to host cells.

“It may not be a major mutation, but it is a very important mutation because it could change the spike protein,” he added.

Solante said that when this happens, the virus could easily go into the human host and it may not be detected by the body’s immune defense because of the changes in its form.

“So the antibodies will no longer recognize the original strain of the virus. What is the implication? Many (virus) will enter into our bodies,” he added.