The first “signals” from South Africa regarding the severity of cases linked to the Omicron variant were “somewhat encouraging,” White House adviser Dr Anthony Fauzi said on Sunday, warning that these were only basic data.
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“Clearly, in South Africa, Omicron is becoming more prevalent,” he said in an interview with CNN, referring to the “vertical” curve in the number of new cases in that country.
“But so far, it’s too early to make any drastic conclusions, it does not seem to have a high level of seriousness,” he said. “So far the signs of gravity have been a little encouraging,” he repeated.
However, medical experts emphasize that the population of South Africa in recent days has been particularly young and that serious cases are likely to occur in the coming weeks.
Laboratory studies are underway to determine whether this new mutation, which has many mutations of concern to scientists, has the ability to inhibit the first infection or vaccine-induced immunity or cause more serious cases. Disease.
“I think there’s a real risk that we’ll see a decline in the effectiveness of vaccines,” Moderna president Stephen Hogg told ABC Sunday, echoing the company’s CEO’s previous statements. , Stéphane Bancel.
“I do not know how big it is,” he said. “Whether it’s what we’ve seen with Delta, whether the vaccines are effective against it or the effect is reduced by almost 50%, that means we need to update them,” he said.
Modernna, like other pharmaceutical companies, including Pfizer, has already begun work to adopt their vaccine if needed.
Omicron is now confirmed in at least 15 US states and nearly 40 countries worldwide, after being first discovered in South Africa.
The United States closed seven other borders to that country and to South Africa for a week. Anthony Fauzi said Sunday he hopes the ban will be lifted “at a reasonable time”.