With the threat of Omicron looming, these are the people who require a COVID booster dose
Previously, the SARs-COV-2 virus was known for its wide-ranging and unpredictable symptoms. People infected with COVID-19 have reported symptoms ranging from fever, exhaustion, and a persistent cough to more severe diseases like shortness of breath, brain fog, and long-term effects.
Dr Coetzee, the doctor who found the new COVID variation, informed people that there had been no reports of severe cases, like hospitalization or low oxygen levels since it was discovered.
According to the doctor, people infected with the Omicron only have moderate symptoms, including fatigue, bodily aches, and a “scratchy” throat rather than a painful throat. There have been no complaints of a stuffy, blocked nose, and people infected with the new strain haven’t had a fever. According to her, the symptoms usually go away on their own.
The virus that causes COVID-19, SARS-CoV-2, has a variant known as Omicron. South Africa was the first to report it to the World Health Organization (WHO) on November 24, 2021. (WHO). The WHO gave this name after the Greek letter Omicron, the fifteenth letter in the alphabet, as a “variant of concern.”
There are numerous mutations in the variant, some of which are unique. At Omicron’s discovery, several mutations disrupted the spike protein targeted by most vaccinations, and Omicron has raised transmissibility, immune system evasion, and vaccine resistance concerns. As a result, the mutation was quickly labelled “of concern,” and several governments put travel restrictions on African countries in an attempt to slow the spread of the disease internationally.
The novel COVID variant Omicron, first found in South Africa and reported to the WHO on November 24, has sparked several concerns. The newly identified B.1.1.529 variation was recognized as a Variant of Concern (VoC) by the World Health Organization on Friday. It has now been claimed to represent a “very high” global danger.
The new variations discovered are Botswana, Italy, Hong Kong, Australia, Belgium, the United Kingdom, Denmark, Germany, Canada, and Israel.
But, while more information is anticipated and much remains unknown, Dr Angelique Coetzee, Chairperson of the South African Medical Association and the first person to uncover the Omicron version, delves into and explains the many aspects of the new variant that have been revealed thus far.
Booster shots can be a common element of the immunization process when protecting against diseases like COVID-19.
These boosters might arrive weeks, months, or years later, according to Sandy Salverson, PharmD, vice president of Pharmacy Operations at OSF HealthCare.
What are the benefits of COVID-19 booster shots?
Several vaccinations’ original (or primary) dose is paired with a booster dose. The immune system is pre-programmed to identify and respond to foreign invaders. Booster shots are given to the body’s immune system to remind it of the infection it needs to fight, and this strengthens or boosts the immune system.
Who will demand a booster dose in the face of the Omicron menace?
The news about COVID’s newest and more damaging form, Omicron, broke just as we were getting used to living with it. While there hasn’t been a recent case in India, officials are taking all necessary efforts to prevent crossing our borders; there is widespread anxiety. People are understandably alarmed by the latest news from Moderna’s CEO, who indicated that vaccines against Omicron are less effective. It’s correct for people to wonder if it’s time for a booster dose in such a situation, especially if they were vaccinated during the first round of vaccine distribution.
While immunizations are highly successful in preventing severe infection and death, they are not 100 per cent effective in preventing viral acquisition or transmission, especially when immunity is waning. Of course, there are continuous arguments over immunity status after the immunization doses have been completed.
After the second dose has been given for at least 14 days, antibody testing can be used to determine immunity levels. It’s also essential to understand the necessity for a booster shot, which is currently being developed. The test of Antibody levels can help you understand your body’s immunological health and identify if you need a booster injection, mainly if you belong to a vulnerable or at-risk group.” There is no conclusive evidence that high weaning antibody levels indicate an increased risk of severe illness.
“The concept of booster vaccine or supplementary vaccine originated with the data that vaccine-induced immunity tends to wean off,” says Dr Sushila Kataria, senior director of the Internal Medicine Department at Medanta and an expert in Infectious Diseases. However, there is no evidence that people are becoming more susceptible to infection due to this weaning of antibody levels against spike protein. Many things change with time, and no one wants to take any chances, so countries administer booster doses.
People who need a booster dose immediately than others-
People with malignancies, on radiotherapy, chemotherapy, people on steroids or other immune suppressants, people over 65 years of age, diabetic patients, chronic kidney and liver disease patients, also those who are more likely to be in contact with patients, such as healthcare workers, should be candidates for additional dose, according to Dr Kataria.
Is there something to be terrified about with the new mutant?
The World Health Organization has classified B.1.1.529 as a variant of concern. Given the vast and substantial disparities between the two, experts see this quick movement from “Variant of Interest” (VoI) to “Variant of Concern” (VoC) as a troubling factor.
According to the study, “substantial reduction in neutralization by antibodies created during earlier infection or immunization, reduced efficiency of treatments or vaccinations, or diagnostic detection failures” While the South African Medical Association has criticized the hype, claiming that Omicron mainly causes minor illnesses, the rate of transmissibility remains high, compounding the people’s problems.
The new form of Omicron contains more than 30 mutations in the spike protein, according to Dr Guleria, which might allow it to create an “immune-escape mechanism.”
A spiking protein permits the virus to enter the host cell, making it more transmissible. Changes in the spike protein, on the other hand, make it more challenging to identify and eliminate.
Because most COVID vaccines are designed to induce antibodies against the spike protein, various mutations in the spike protein only make the vaccines less effective, resulting in lower efficacy.
This new mutation was identified only a few weeks ago. Even though transmissibility appears higher than usual, no clear evidence of increased mortality has been found. The situation is changing, and we don’t know what will happen in the future. Otherwise, it takes a month to comprehend every new mutation’s clinical profile, severity, and transmissibility and another month to understand how vaccine immunity or monoclonal immunity behaves.
Be cautious, but don’t be alarmed.
We must be cautious and concerned. Examine your COVID-appropriate behaviour and ensure that everyone is up to date on their immunizations.