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There is no indication that vaccines are less effective against Omicron, recalls WHO | Coronavirus

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This intervention ofWHO comes the day after predictions made by the boss of Moderna, Stéphane Bancel, during an interview with the Financial Times. He said it would be surprising if the existing vaccines were as effective against Omicron as they are against Delta.

There is no world in which I think that [l’efficacité du vaccin] is at the same level as we had for Delta. […] I don’t know how effective could be less; we have to wait for the data. But every scientist I’ve spoken to has told me it doesn’t bode well, he told the economic daily on Tuesday.

In the midst of the special session of the World Health Assembly on Wednesday, theWHO insisted on making it clear that it is still too early to say that new vaccines will be needed to protect the world against Omicron, identified as a worrying variant presenting high risk worldwide.

The UN agency’s chief scientist, Soumya Swaminathan, later argued at a press conference that theWHO currently believes that the vaccines should work against Omicron, also known as B.1.1.529.

The international organization also clarified Wednesday that the variant has more than 40 mutations, and not more than 30, as was initially mentioned. These mutations suggest the increased risk of faster transmission, she said, but early indications also suggest that Omicron is causing rather mild symptoms.

However, it is still too early to draw any conclusions about the new variant, theWHO expecting to have more information about its transmissibility in the next few days.

Since last Wednesday, when South Africa alerted the world to the existence of a new variant, cases have been spotted in 24 different countries, according to theWHO. Nigeria, however, said on Wednesday it had discovered a case of the variant in its territory dating back to October, which reinforces the hypothesis that Omicron has already circulated for a while in the world.

Since last week, many countries have announced tightening of their borders, including closing them to countries in southern Africa – including South Africa, where Omicron is already dominant – or imposing tests and quarantines on travelers.

As such, Ottawa announced on Tuesday that air travelers from outside of Canada, with the exception of the United States, will now need to be tested at the airport and self-isolate until they get their tickets. results.

In addition, France announced Wednesday that it will now require all travelers coming from outside the European Union to present the negative result of a screening test carried out within a period of less than 48 hours for those vaccinated. , and less than 24 hours for those that are not.

The French authorities have also indicated that flights from southern Africa will be able to resume on Saturday, provided that the new framework imposed on foreign travelers is followed.

The United States is considering imposing stricter test conditions for travelers entering its territory, and is considering the establishment of a quarantine on arrival. These measures could be officially announced Thursday by President Joe Biden, who is due to present his strategy to face the COVID-19 epidemic this winter.

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