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'Inactive jabs might offer better protection against omicron variant'

As new coronavirus variant triggers change in spike protein, inactive jabs might be more effective as they produce antibodies for other proteins: Expert

Tezcan Ekizler   | 01.12.2021
'Inactive jabs might offer better protection against omicron variant'

IZMIR

Inactive vaccinations might offer a wider range of protection against the new omicron variant which has a mutated spike protein, the protein that the BioNTech jab stimulates, according to a member of Turkey's Coronavirus Scientific Advisory Board.

Dr. Alper Sener said the cases of the omicron variant have been detected in several countries, with a potential of rapid spread, adding that the available PCR tests could detect the variant, while complete analyses were yet to be concluded.

"There is no potential that (the new variant) could evade the current vaccines, however, that the two cases identified in Hong Kong previously received the mRNA Pfizer vaccine has somehow raised question marks," he said.

There has not been any scientific data available regarding the course of the disease yet, Sener said, adding that his colleagues and preliminary info suggested that it appears to be the same as the other variants.

Studies on the effectiveness of the vaccines against the variant are now underway, he noted, saying the mRNA jabs only created antibodies against the spike protein while the inactive shots formed antibodies for this protein as well as others, which may appear as an advantage against the omicron variant.

"There is a hypothesis suggesting that the antibody response triggered by the BioNTech jab solely for the spike protein could be negatively affected by the omicron variant as there is an overwhelming mutation and alteration of the spike protein within the omicron variant," he said. This high level of mutation could be a disadvantage for jabs producing antibodies solely for the spike protein, Sener said.

*Writing by Ali Murat Alhas

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