Offering a glimpse of hope, a study at the Oxford University has found that a booster dose of the Coronavirus vaccine developed by AstraZeneca is successful in increasing the levels of antibodies against the new variant of coronavirus Omicron. The vaccine which was developed by pharma major AstraZeneca and Oxford University is being manufactured by Serum Institute of India and sold as Covishield in India. The same vaccine has been marketed and sold as Vaxzevria in South Korea. The study conducted at the Oxford University has offered hope that a booster dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine can control the viral spread of the disease on the back of its new variant Omicron, the Indian Express reported.
As per the results of the study, the individuals who had received the booster dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine were able to neutralise the Omicron variant one month after being jabbed the booster dose. The level of protection offered by the booster dose was comparable to the protection provided by the second dose of the vaccine against the Delta variant one month after the administration of the vaccine. The study further said that the levels of antibodies against the Omicron variant were found to be even higher among individuals who have previously contracted the disease and recovered on their own.
Similar studies conducted by other pharma giants like Moderna and Pfizer have also shown that the third dose is able to offer some level of protection against the Omicron variant. Even as the latest study has shown that the booster dose of the vaccine is effective in preventing the spread of the Omicron variant, the company at the same time has disclosed that it is working to develop a new vaccine designed to counter the Omicron variant.
In a related development, several countries have started vaccinating children below 12 years of age in view of the threat of the Omicron variant. Experts have highlighted that the population of children remains extremely vulnerable to the Omicron variant as a large proportion of the adult population has been vaccinated. While France has decided to vaccinate children above five years of age, Germany, Greece, Spain and the United States have also opened up vaccination for children to counter the rising spread of the Omicron variant.
Amid a rapid surge in infections with the Omicron variant, several countries in Europe have begun vaccinating children below 12 years of age. In most of the world, only people above the age of 18 have been vaccinated because of the very low prevalence of coronavirus cases in younger age groups. A few countries later opened up vaccinations for the 12-18 age group as well.