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Inactive vaccines may create stronger antibodies against omicron: Turkish expert

Inactive vaccines may create stronger antibodies against omicron: Turkish expert

Inactive vaccines such as Sinovac and Turkovac may create stronger antibodies against the new omicron variant, which has a mutated spike protein, the protein that the BioNTech jab stimulates, said Dr. Alper Şener, a member of Turkey’s Coronavirus Scientific Advisory Board.

Dr. Şener 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 messenger RNA (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, Şener 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 vaccines producing antibodies solely for the spike protein, Şener said.

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