HYDERABAD: The Omicron sub-variant BF.7 wave will be milder than those caused by previous variants, according to city doctors, and there is no cause to fear with people having developed strong immunity both due to the Covid vaccine and numerous variants spreading in communities.
According to city doctors, more than 93 per cent of the population have developed antibodies. If infected with the new BF.7 sub-variant, just 5 per cent of the population would be at risk. While this is so, doctors believe that vaccination is critical for staying safe and avoiding severe Covid complications.
Booster doses should be taken every six months to a year, according to doctors, to lower the chance of infection.
Given the threat of the new variant that is quickly spreading in China and its projected global impact, Dr Nageshwar Reddy, chairman of AIG Hospitals, believed it was critical to take the booster dose.
Dr Nageshwar Reddy noted that only 28 per cent of people in the country had taken booster doses and underlined the need to maintain vaccination effectiveness with booster shots to stay safe and forestall a new surge of the pandemic. He predicted that the number of Covid cases would increase over the next two months, but that the situation would return to normal by March, while recommending that people observe Covid regulations such as wearing masks while entering crowded locations.
Dr Nageshwar Reddy was part of the AIG Hospital research team that conducted a study titled 'Heterologous booster dosage with Corbevax following primary vaccination with Covishield enhances protection against SARS-CoV-2'. The research examined the immunity benefits of the indigenous heterologous vaccination booster Corbevax in combating the Omicron variants.
The study showed that Corbevax booster in individuals vaccinated with Covishield gave maximum protection against Omicron variants.
Dr Nageshwar Reddy told reporters that the study was conducted on 250 healthcare workers who had received two doses of Covishield as the primary vaccination regimen no more than six months ago. Following the administration of the Corbevax booster dose, none of the participants experienced any side effects.
“We knew from our previous studies that mixed vaccines produce better immune responses. Therefore, when the government approved Corbevax to be given as a heterologous booster to individuals already vaccinated with Covishield, our aim was to determine how a different vaccine platform (protein-based) will impact the immune response especially in context of the Omicron variant,” he stated.
Dr Nageshwar Reddy stated that the findings confirmed their conviction that combination vaccines were completely safe.
"The second part of the study was to measure the antibody response as well as the T-cell (memory cell) response after 30 days and subsequently at 90 days to appropriately estimate the total protection against the circulating Omicron variant. T and B cell responses were measured using advanced flow cytometry.
"It is clear from the data that heterologous booster with Corbevax stimulated better memory cell responses in individuals and the levels did not decrease after 90 days compared to the homologous group," Dr Nageshwar Reddy stated of the findings.
The findings indicated the efficacy of the Corbevax heterologous booster. More than 30 days after getting the booster dose, only ten of the 250 individuals tested positive for Covid. "The significant impact of Corbevax as a booster was demonstrated in clinical settings where Covid positive patients in the heterologous group showed minimal/mild symptoms whereas the homologous group acquired symptoms such as fever/body pains, cold, and cough," Dr Nageshwar Reddy explained....