The All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), Delhi, Director Dr. Randeep Guleria said that COVID-19 vaccines can be "tweaked" to provide protection against new variants of the virus. His remarks come in the wake of concerns over the new Omicron variant of COVID-19.
Dr. Guleria said on Sunday, "Although there is this new variant of COVID-19, the silver lining is that it does seem to be a milder disease and we should have protection as far as the vaccine is concerned. And I think it is important to remember that vaccines can be tweaked."
Speaking at the Dr. VS Prayag Memorial Oration 2021 in Pune, organised by the Association of Physicians of India, he said, "Every year, a new vaccine (for diseases in general) is created based on surveillance data provided by the World Health Organisation (WHO), therefore it is easier to do it."
Notably, Omicron was first reported in South Africa on November 24. India's first two cases of this heavily mutated version of the coronavirus were detected in Karnataka on December 2 and till Sunday, 153 cases of Omicron were reported in India.
The Omicron cases have been detected in 11 states and Union Territories – Maharashtra (54), Delhi (22), Rajasthan (17) and Karnataka (14), Telangana (20), Gujarat (11), Kerala (11), Andhra Pradesh (1), Chandigarh (1), Tamil Nadu (1) and West Bengal (1), according to central and state officials.