An official from Europe’s high medical product regulation company mentioned Tuesday that the COVID-19 omicron variant could also be pushing the pandemic into turning into endemic.
Marco Cavaleri, head of vaccine technique for the European Medicines Company (EMA), informed reporters on Tuesday that that the pure immunity conferred by the highly-infectious omicron pressure could also be fast-tracking the progress in the direction of endemicity.
“With the rise of immunity in inhabitants – and with Omicron, there shall be plenty of pure immunity happening on high of vaccination – we shall be fast paced in the direction of a situation that shall be nearer to endemicity,” Cavaleri mentioned throughout a media briefing, in keeping with Al Jazeera.
When a virus turns into endemic it means a inhabitants has gained sufficient widespread immunity — both from an infection or vaccination — that transmissions, hospitalizations and deaths will begin to go down.
Reviews from South Africa, the place omicron was first detected, have indicated that whereas the variant is highly-infectious, it doesn’t end in a corresponding spike in hospitalizations and deaths. One other South African research launched final month discovered that omicron might scale back infections brought on by the delta variant by constructing cross-immunity to completely different strains, an impact that has not been noticed in lots of different mutations of the SARS-CoV-2 virus.
Throughout his briefing on Tuesday, Reuters reported that Cavaleri additionally expressed doubts in regards to the necessity for a fourth COVID-19 vaccine dose, telling the reporters that such an strategy was not “sustainable.”
“Whereas use of further boosters could be a part of contingency plans, repeated vaccinations inside quick intervals wouldn’t characterize a sustainable long-term technique,” he mentioned.
“It will be significant that there’s a good dialogue across the alternative of the composition of the vaccine to be sure that we’ve a technique that’s not simply reactive … and attempt to give you an strategy that shall be appropriate as a way to forestall a future variant,” he added.
Cavaleri’s remarks echo these of British infectious illness skilled Sir Andrew Pollard who mentioned earlier this month that repeated vaccination each few months was “not sustainable.”
Pollard, who helped to develop the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine, mentioned, “It really isn’t inexpensive, sustainable or in all probability even wanted to vaccinate everybody on the planet each 4 to 6 months.”
“We have not even managed to vaccinate everybody in Africa with one dose so we’re actually not going to get to a degree the place fourth doses for everybody is manageable,” he added.