Srinagar, Feb 10: With the emergence of new Covid-19 variants, Doctors Association Kashmir (DAK) on Wednesday said Covid-19 vaccines should be tweaked to tackle new mutated versions of the novel coronavirus.
“We need to modify the existing Covid-19 vaccines to deal with new variants,” said DAK President and influenza expert Dr Nisar ul Hassan.
“Currently, three Covid-19 variants – South African variant, Brazilian variant and UK variant are circulating in the human populations which appear to spread more swiftly than the original strain,” he said.
“Some of these variants have been found to evade the effects of the existing vaccines that have been developed against the original strain of the novel virus. “A study from the University of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg has shown that Oxford vaccine had significantly reduced efficacy against the South African variant,” DAK President said.
“An inability to protect against variant strains may severely limit the strategic benefit of vaccines containing only the original strain.”
“In order to have long term efficacy against Covid-19, it may be necessary for vaccines to include multiple variants of the novel virus,” he said adding “this strategy is routinely applied against influenza and all formulations in recent years have included three to four variant forms.”
“Vaccines containing only one variant may induce little or no protection against variant strains that are already circulating among highly mobile human populations.” “Only those vaccines which are able to provide protection against multiple variants of the virus can bring the Covid-19 pandemic to an end,” Dr Nisar said.
“Vaccine manufacturers need to update their existing shots to address the ongoing genetic evolution of Covid-19.” “Some vaccine developers have started to redesign their vaccines so that they could better target the variant forms of Covid-19 that are currently circulating in the human population,” he said.