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Vaccine manufacturers said they testing jabs against the new Omicron variant

Vaccine manufacturers said they testing jabs against the new Omicron variant

Vaccine makers studying Omicron, testing jabs against new variant.

American biotechnology company Moderna announced on Friday the new variant known as B.1.1.529 includes mutations seen in the Delta variant that increase transmissibility, and it has mutations seen in the Beta and Delta variants that promote immune escape.

“The combination of mutations represents a significant potential risk to accelerate the waning of natural and vaccine-induced immunity,” it warned in a statement.

The company said a booster dose of its COVID-19 vaccine is currently the only available strategy for increasing waning immunity, and it is testing its ability to neutralize the Omicron variant, for which the results would be available in coming weeks.

Moderna said it is testing to see if a higher booster dose of its vaccine would provide protection against Omicron.

Another US firm Johnson & Johnson said on Friday it is closely monitoring the new COVID-19 strains with variations in the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein, and the new variant originated in southern Africa is one of them.

The firm said it is testing the effectiveness of its COVID-19 vaccine against the new Omicron variant.

British-Swedish biotechnology firm AstraZeneca said it has already started studying the new variant by carrying out research in Botswana and Eswatini, where the variant has been identified.

The company said it aims to collect real world data and see how its COVID-19 vaccine and antibody combination therapy react against the new variant.