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Is the fourth dose of the vaccine needed? The debate is open – breaking latest news

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Is the fourth dose of the vaccine needed?  The debate is open – breaking latest news
from Silvia Turin

There is discussion on the basis of recent studies that say that Covid could also “pierce” the vaccines based on Omicron (version BA.1). Pharmaceutical companies are pushing for authorizations first, but governments don’t know whether to continue with the vaccines currently in use

Governments are collecting data to assess how to conduct the autumn campaign against Covid: fourth dose for everyone? Fourth dose with updated vaccines?

Omicron does not protect against Omicron

With regard to the last point in particular, the debate is in full swing. Those who doubt the advisability of choosing the new versions are based on the belief that the run-up of vaccines on Omicron may not give the desired results. The effectiveness of the fourth updated dose that he expects in the fall (and that, in reality, it would be a new vaccination, like the annual one against the flu) collides with the ability that the variant has been shown to evade antibodies: so to speak, Omicron does not protect against Omicronas the ability to reinfect the virus in its current form is significantly increased and the consequence is that, for example, having taken the BA.1 virus does not protect against infection with BA.5 and so on.

Act quickly?

This is demonstrated by a recent article that appeared in Nature
, which studies precisely the extent of the immune evasiveness of the Omicron sub-variants BA.2.12.1 (widespread in the USA) and BA.4 / 5 (which are causing the recent summer wave in Europe and Italy) against previous infections of the strain Original Omicron, known as BA.1. The research (and it is not the only one with similar results) raises concerns about the efficacy (again with respect to contagion) of the impact of the recall of the specific vaccine against Omicron, which is designed precisely on the initial BA.1 strain. In this regard, the pharmaceutical company Pfizer, which is conducting the analyzes on its updated vaccine, urges the regulatory authorities, through the mouth of the head Ugur Şahin, to accelerate with the permits: Financial Times Sahin says the safety data would be no different from the original vaccine evidence as it would simply ‘changed a number of amino acids in the spike protein“. Selection of the new strain took (for mRNA vaccines that are ‘faster’ to update) three months, clinical trials could take another four months.

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Vaccines work

But if the tight deadlines and the variants of the virus that follow one another are used by pharmaceutical companies as a lever to obtain fast-track for approval, the same arguments cause the scientists to worry, who are holding back. It pays to cost and spend resources to upgrade a vaccine that risks being born “already old”? While the bad news is that the virus may be faster than updating vaccines, the good news, however, is that despite the virus being so “elusive”, vaccines as “old” as those built on the Wuhan strain (currently in use) are proving still strongly protective against the risk of severe disease and this also applies to the recent sub-variants of Omicron. Vaccines work great for what they were designed for (saving us) and in that sense, and probably better, updated vaccines would work too. The virus, however, will continue to infectbecause it evolves in this way and we are destined for a long coexistence.

To whom to recommend the fourth dose

The evaluation of vaccination for all, another point on the agenda, is underway: to balance costs and benefits, the fourth dose should offer a significant difference for most people.
Another matter is to protect them better and better elderly and the most vulnerable: for them it makes sense to stimulate the response of the immune system (which perhaps in their case struggles to react) and it is good to do it with the fourth dose and do it quickly and useful so that they continue to be protected. For everyone else, global regulators will meet later this month to discuss whether to move to new vaccines tailored to the Omicron variant or to continue with the current ones.

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June 22, 2022 (change June 22, 2022 | 14:11)

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