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Home / News / India /  Can Omicron-specific booster vaccine dose provide better protection? WHO chief scientist shares study
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Updating the existing Covid-19 vaccines to target the Omicron variant may not result in better protection, a new study suggests. 

The study, conducted by scientists at the National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Diseases’s Vaccine Research Center, has revealed that animals who were given a booster dose of the existing vaccines had the same level of antibodies as those given an Omicron-specific updated booster. 

“Therefore, an Omicron boost may not provide greater immunity or protection compared to a boost with the current [Moderna] vaccine," the researchers said. 

Sharing a news story based on the study, Soumya Swaminathan, chief scientist at the World Health Organization (WHO), said that important findings have been obtained from this. 

“Important findings, though in an animal model. Decisions on vaccine composition are complex, based on a number of data points & need to be free of conflicts of interest. That’s why @WHO has set up an expert group to advise the world (sic)," she said. 

The study has not been peer-reviewed yet and comes days after a group of international researchers said that the Covid-19 variant Omicron causes less severe symptoms in the lungs of hamsters than the Delta variant.

The researchers examined differences in symptoms in hamsters separately infected with the Omicron and the Delta variants, reported NHK World.

They said that, three days after becoming infected, the hamsters with the Omicron variant had much smaller amounts of the virus in their lungs than those with the Delta variant.

The group said that its studies with the hamsters show that the Omicron variant is less pathogenic and has a lower ability to proliferate than the Delta variant.

They also said that the CT images show that there were cases in which animals with the Delta variant developed pneumonia, like some human Covid patients.

But they found that those with the Omicron variant had only mild inflammation in the lungs.

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