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Fears that new COVID type could escape vaccines – Tucson, Arizona

Tucson, Arizona 2021-11-26 21:10:39 –

Tucson, Arizona (KGUN) — The more infectious delta variant of COVID was problematic enough, but the vaccine can protect you from it. Researchers are now worried that current vaccines may not work against a new variant called Omicron.

The rapid outbreak in Africa has told health officials that they may be dealing with something new. They found that a new version of the virus, now named Omicron, was mutated, so there were 35 differences in the spikes the virus used, like a can opener, tearing cells and adding more COVID to those cells. Was created.

Current vaccines use proteins from spikes to teach the immune system to recognize and attack the virus, but if mutations change the spikes sufficiently, does the approach become less effective? It may not work at all.

so Quality of Life Research Center, Dr. Jack McGettigan and his staff assisted in the development and testing of the COVID vaccine. He compares adapting the COVID vaccine to new variants with the challenge of adapting the influenza vaccine in response to changes in the influenza virus.

“So I think that’s a concern. How much has this mutation changed in the future? And is the current vaccine really beneficial or just a little beneficial? It will take time. “

Dr. McGetigan says researchers will also see if the new Omicron variant makes people sick and spreads faster than previous versions.

If he needs a revised vaccine, the good news is that the mRNA technology used in current vaccines allows researchers to prepare new vaccines without a five-year, six-year, or seven-year development period. is.

“Now obviously COVID is putting it at the forefront and I know that new flu vaccines such as RSV and Ebola are being considered. That is, there is a lot to be investigated. So it is becoming a part of our daily life. “



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