New Delhi: The Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genetics Consortium or the INSACOG has said that a booster vaccine dose for people above 40 years of age ‘may be considered’ amid the rising threat of new Covid variant Omicron. India has reported two cases of Omicron variant so far. The United States and Britain have already cleared booster shots for some age groups. Top American infectious diseases specialist Anthony Fauci stressed that fully vaccinated adults should seek a booster when eligible to give themselves the best possible protection.Also Read - Kerala High Court Bans Gathering of More Than 50 People In Kasargod District Amid Current Covid Situation
“Vaccination of all remaining unvaccinated at-risk people and consideration of a booster dose for those 40 years of age and over, first targeting the most high-risk/high-exposure may be considered, since low levels of neutralising antibodies from the current vaccines are unlikely to be sufficient to neutralise Omicron, although risk of severe disease is still likely to be reduced,” INSACOG said in its latest bulletin. Also Read - Will Ban On Physical Rallies For Assembly Polls be Extended Amid COVID Cases? EC To Take Decision Today
The Genetics Consortium has said that the preliminary evidence suggests that Omicron may increase reinfection risk, which is expected from the structural changes due to the mutations, and the number of cases of this variant appears to be increasing in almost all provinces in South Africa. “In some PCR tests, such as Thermo TaqPath, one of the three target genes is not detected. Such a phenomenon was previously seen for Alpha, which is currently not in active circulation and thus SGTF can be used as a marker for this variant, pending sequencing confirmation”, said INSACOG adding that the mutation spectrum of Omicron is predictive of high transmissibility”. Also Read - Gujarat Imposes Night Curfew in 17 More Towns, Relaxes Home Delivery Services For Hotels | Full Guidelines Here
However, it has also been said that while there is initial suggestion that this variant may have a growth advantage over Delta, growth advantage is not the same as higher transmissibility, especially when there is prior immunity in the community. The National Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (NTAGI), had said last month that a policy on the booster and additional doses of the vaccine could be expected in two weeks.
One of the two patients who was found infected in India is a 46-year-old fully vaccinated doctor from Bengaluru, who had no travel history and developed symptoms of fever and body ache on November 21. The other confirmed Omicron patient is a 66-year-old South African who came to India with a negative Covid report.
(Based in IANS inputs)