Steps taken to target Omicron with AstraZeneca jab, scientist says

A scientist at the university has said that Oxford and AstraZeneca have taken preliminary steps to produce an updated version of their coronaviruses vaccine to specifically target the Omicron variant.

Sandy Douglas, a research group leader at Oxford, told the Financial Times that an updated vaccine could be used to respond to any new variant more rapidly.

He said that they have taken preliminary steps in producing an updated vaccine in case it is needed.

Adenoviruses-based vaccines could be used to respond to any new variant more rapidly than some may have realised.

The Omicron variant vaccine is being prepared by Oxford University and will be informed by emerging data.

The spread of the Omicron variant has led to calls for people to have booster shots.

A booster shot could provide up to 80% protection against the Omicron variant, according to a study published last week.

After two doses, the vaccine effectiveness was between zero and 20%, and between 45% and 80% after a booster dose. The study did not have a lot of information on Omicron.

The Omicron variant causes a disease that is different from previous versions, but there is still uncertainty as to how severe it is.

Governments will need to put in place plans to mitigate any impact now that they know about it. The results show that delivering booster doses is important in the public health response.

In countries with limited dose supply, it's important to include these boosters to high-risk populations.

The UK's Health Security Agency (UKHSA) has found that a booster offers better protection against the new variant when compared with just two doses.

Those who have received a booster jab are up to 70% protected against Omicron.

The double-jabbed is vulnerable to the variant due to the lower levels of protection provided by the vaccines.

Three months after the second jab, the protection afforded by two doses of the vaccine began to diminish. The Omicron variant was not circulating at the time of the study.

Within three months of the second vaccine dose, the vaccine protection against Covid-19 hospital admissions and deaths in both Scotland and Brazil was waning.

People who have received a booster vaccine need to be considered.