University of Brighton Virologist Sarah Pitt discusses the omicron variant
What do we know about Omicron and actually vaccines?
What works against it?
What doesn’t what we know is that Coronavirus has got some changes to the spike protein, which is the sticky out of the virus, which attaches itself to your cells.?
The vaccine was originally made against the original Woodhand strain, actually of that spike protein. And because the virus has changed quite significantly, the virus is less effective now that’s not set or the vaccine is less effective.
That’s not saying it doesn’t work at all, but it’s not quite as good as it was against the Delta variant or the previous variants.
So from what we understand and correct me if I’m wrong, doctor on the Crom is not necessarily more deadly.
So the danger is that it spreads so quickly that the NHS is overwhelmed with people that are not vaccinated.
I don’t think there’s any evidence that it’s less deadly.
We have seen information coming from Southern Africa, where very small children are ending up in hospital with Omicron, and here in the UK, there have been some cases over the weekend where they’ve been confirmed that the person with code in the hospital was infected with the omicron variant.
What’s changed or what’s different about this is that if you had some level of protection from the vaccine, even if it’s just two doses and perhaps previous infection, that means that the symptoms that people are experiencing are a bit mild.
But I don’t think there’s any.
It’s not the virus that’s changed. It’s the vaccine that has actually changed the relationship between the virus and the vaccine, such that most people are experiencing mild symptoms and probably something a bit more kind to a head cold and the problem because the old procurement is so infectious.
People are thinking, oh, I’ve just got a bit of sniffle. It’s fine.
It isn’t covered and are not testing itself at the moment. In the UK, we’ve all got lateral flow tests that we can have at home.
So the government is encouraging people to have a lateral protest before they go out anywhere. And definitely, if you’ve got sort of headquarters symptoms to test yourself to make sure it isn’t covered, that you’ve got because it might be Dr fit.
If the vaccine protects you so that you don’t get very safe, but it should also at a certain extent stop the transmission mechanism so that you also don’t give it to others.
What do we know about the omicron and the ability of even if you’re vaccinated to transmit it to others the booster dose?
So having three doses of vaccine does protect you from that by about 75%. So you’ve got about a 25% chance of picking up the virus and passing it on to other people compared to someone who hasn’t had the booster dose.
But if there’s a lot of virus around which there is, and it’s super infectious, which it is that 25% is actually less significant because it means you’re still quite likely to bump into it.
You’re still quite likely to have a happy infectious to other people.
But the vaccine program is only going to work in conjunction with using other measures to try and bring the level of virus and other new cases right down to almost to give the vaccine sporting chance to work.
We cannot vaccinate our way out of this pandemic. And it’s also worth remembering that here in the UK and across Europe and perhaps the US, we’re quite lucky because we do have access to vaccines.
There are so many people in the world who haven’t even had their first dose of a covered vaccine yet, and the pandemics not going to be over until about 90% of the world have been vaccinated.
What’s the right way, actually?
Mario Draghi is asking for a green pass everywhere, even if you have to go to work in a similar situation for a passport in France, the UK has not gone down that route.
Are we going to see more restrictions, including school closures?
Well, the UK hasn’t gone down the route of clothed passes for really political reasons. It’s just tricky politically, whereas I think a lot of us scientists would like to have seen it because it’s worked fine in other countries, and in fact, it isn’t the whole of the UK. It’s just England.
They have actually introduced code passes for big sporting events and nightclubs and things in Scotland and Wales and Northern Ireland. And it’s not a vaccine passport.
It’s just if you haven’t had your two doses of vaccine for whatever reason, you can take a covered test and have the evidence of a negative test as well.
And of course, even those of us who had the two doses.
Actually, I’ve had my booster now, last week, we still encourage you to have being encouraged to have a lateral flow before we go out just to make sure that we are actually not carrying the virus with us when we go.
So I don’t know whether they will bring that to the UK. I would like to see more, a little bit more restrictions on people’s, just people mingling with people who are not in your normal social bubble and your normal household, because any time you come into somebody, you can bump into the wires.
So we’re trying to restrict that as much as we can.
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