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Booster doses of current COVID-19 vaccines not enough to stop spread of virus? WHO says THIS

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has said that current COVID-19 vaccines may need to be updated if they are to provide continued protection against emerging variants, including Omicron.

WHO’s Technical Advisory Group on Covid-19 Vaccine Composition (TAG-CO-VAC), a group of 18 experts, on Tuesday said that although current vaccines provide a high level of protection against severe disease and death caused by Variants Of Concern (VOC), future vaccines that can prevent infection and transmission need to be developed.

In the meantime, the composition of current COVID-19 vaccines may need to be updated to protect against the evolution of the virus, Xinhua news agency reported.

Such updates need to be based on strains that are genetically and antigenically close to the circulating variants. They should also elicit “broad, strong, and long-lasting” responses to “reduce the need for successive booster doses,” WHO added.

The experts have encouraged COVID-19 vaccine manufacturers to provide data on the performance of current and Omicron-specific vaccines, to help decide when changes to vaccine composition may be required.

Regarding the current Omicron variant, the experts emphasised the importance of wider global access to current COVID-19 vaccines.

Meanwhile, India reported 1,94,720 fresh COVID cases, a rise of around 26,000 from the previous day. At the same time, a total of 442 deaths were also reported.

With the addition of the new deaths, the death toll has climbed to 4,84,655.

The Omicron infection tally has reached 4,868 across the nation. However, out of the total Omicron positives, 1,850 have been discharged from the hospitals. So far a total of 28 states have reported the Omicron infection, said the Union health ministry on Wednesday.

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