The new Corona variant Omikron has arrived in Germany. The bosses of Biontech and Moderna comment on the effectiveness of their vaccines.
On Tuesday, November 30th, it became known that the first Omikron cases had also been registered in Baden-Württemberg *. Previously, there had been several reports of further suspected cases in Bavaria, Saxony and Hesse. The fact is: The new Corona variant Omikron from South Africa * has also arrived in Germany and, like the delta mutation, could spread further. The question arises here: How well do the vaccines approved in the EU protect against the new variant?
In the following, echo24.de reports on the statements of the bosses of Biontech and Moderna, who commented on the effectiveness of their vaccines in relation to the Corona variant Omikron. The vaccines from Biontech and Moderna are currently the two most effective vaccines worldwide. Both preparations are so-called mRNA vaccines and therefore do not belong to the group of vector or dead vaccines * like AstraZeneca or Johnson & Johnson. But do the top vaccines also protect against Omikron?
Corona variant Omikron: “Clear protection” – Biontech boss in clear text
Biontech boss Ugur Sahin assumes that his company’s vaccine also offers protection against serious Covid-19 diseases in the case of the omicron variant. “We think it is likely that those vaccinated will have significant protection against serious illnesses caused by Omikron,” Sahin told Reuters . The Bild newspaper had previously written about Sahin’s statement to Reuters.
What is an mRNA vaccine?
mRNA vaccines are based on messenger ribonucleic acid (mRNA) and are a novel technology that stimulates the body’s own immune response. The vaccines contain information from the mRNA of a certain virus trait – for example from the coronavirus. Based on the information, the body can produce the antigen itself. The information for the production of the antigen is passed on to the cell machinery, which in turn produces suitable proteins. Cells in the body of the vaccinated person then present the antigen on their surface and thereby trigger the desired specific immune response.
Source: BioNTech Manufacturing GmbH
The Biontech boss also assumes that the protective effect is even more pronounced when the people have received their third vaccination. But only when laboratory and infection data have been evaluated, precise statements can be made about the effectiveness of the vaccine. “We expect that the protection against infections can be reduced to a certain extent, but we have to see how strong it is.” According to reports in the Bild newspaper , Sahin expects clarity in one to two weeks.
Corona variant Omikron: Biontech and Moderna in comparison – statement surprised
Moderna boss Stéphane Bancel is less confident. In the case of his corona vaccine, he assumes a “considerable decrease” in the protective effect, according to reports in the “Financial Times”. The vaccine therefore protects to a certain extent against a serious disease with Omicron – but: “I think the effectiveness in no way has the same level as against the Delta variant, ”says Bancel, referring to new information from scientists.
According to the scientists, 32 of the 50 mutations found in Omikron affect the spike protein. A protein that is found on the surface of the coronavirus and plays an important role in the effectiveness of vaccines. The reason: With the help of the spike protein, an immune reaction is triggered, which in turn causes the body of a vaccinated person to produce antibodies and memory cells – the basis for strong protection against the disease.
Corona variant Omikron: Two vaccine manufacturers have taken measures
How dangerous the new Corona variant Omikron actually is cannot yet be clearly determined. Experts can only make a more precise assessment when scientifically reliable data are available. In the meantime, it is important to stay on course, says the Israeli corona expert Ran Balicer about the danger of the new mutation. Independently of this, the first vaccine manufacturers have announced that they will – if necessary – adapt their vaccines to the new variant.
Specifically, the manufacturers Novavax and Moderna want to test their vaccines * and adjust them if necessary. Another advantage of the mRNA vaccines is that they are relatively easy to adapt to new variants. A spokesman for Biontech assured reports from tagesschau.de that the vaccine from the Mainz-based company can be adapted against the Corona variant Omikron within six weeks. The spokesman says that the first batches can be delivered within 100 days.
Corona variant Omikron: Experts advise all non-vaccinated people to be vaccinated
But regardless of whether it is highly effective against Omikron or not – a corona vaccination can prevent severe courses and at least partially protects against new variants. Experts therefore recommend getting vaccinated. Which vaccine is better for the booster vaccination *, reveals echo24.de * in the article just linked. Experts recommend a third vaccination after six months, especially for older people and those with previous illnesses. * echo24.de is an offer from IPPEN.MEDIA.
List of rubric lists: © Fleig / Eibner-Pressefoto / dpa