Omicron extra transmissible than Delta: UK PM Boris Johnson to ministers


Early indicators point out that the Omicron variant of COVID-19 is extra transmissible than the variant at present dominant within the UK, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson informed his Cupboard ministers on Tuesday.

Johnson’s official Quantity 10 Downing Road spokesperson informed reporters in an account of the Cupboard assembly that Johnson reiterated it was nonetheless too early to attract conclusions on the broader impression of the brand new variant, which might depend upon whether or not it causes extreme sickness.

Johnson’s feedback come because the UK recorded 101 extra Omicron instances on Tuesday, taking the overall for the variant first detected in South Africa as much as 437.

“The Prime Minister mentioned it was too early to attract conclusions on the traits of Omicron however early indications have been that it’s extra transmissible than Delta,” the spokesperson mentioned.

In the meantime, British drugmaker GSK introduced that its antibody-based COVID-19 remedy with US companion Vir Biotechnology, which was authorized by the Medicines and Healthcare merchandise Regulatory Company (MHRA) earlier this month, is efficient in opposition to all mutations of the Omicron variant.

Its unpublished knowledge exhibits that the businesses’ remedy sotrovimab is efficient in opposition to all 37 recognized mutations to this point within the spike protein, GSK mentioned in a press release.

“From the outset of our collaboration with Vir, we hypothesised that sotrovimab would have a excessive barrier to resistance and thus may ship best-in-class potential for the early remedy of sufferers with COVID-19,” mentioned Dr Hal Barron, Chief Scientific Officer and President R&D, GSK.

“These pre-clinical knowledge display the potential for our monoclonal antibody to be efficient in opposition to the newest variant, Omicron, plus all different variants of concern outlined to this point by the WHO, and we look ahead to discussing these outcomes with regulatory authorities all over the world,” he mentioned.

The preclinical knowledge was generated by way of pseudo-virus testing of the mixed identified mutations of the Omicron variant, which included the utmost variety of modifications, or 37 mutations, recognized to this point within the spike protein.

“Sotrovimab is the primary monoclonal antibody to report preclinical knowledge demonstrating exercise in opposition to all examined SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern and curiosity to this point, together with Omicron, in addition to the nonetheless prevalent and extremely contagious Delta variant,” mentioned George Scangos, Chief Government Officer of Vir.

Sotrovimab is for individuals with gentle to reasonable COVID-19 who’re at excessive threat of growing extreme illness. It’s a single monoclonal antibody and the drug works by binding to the spike protein on the surface of the COVID-19 virus.

The remedy is run by intravenous infusion over 30 minutes and is authorized for people aged 12 and above who weigh greater than 40kg.

The MHRA had authorised the brand new remedy to be used within the UK in individuals who have gentle to reasonable COVID-19 an infection and a minimum of one threat issue for growing extreme sickness.

Such threat components embrace weight problems, older age teams of 60 and above, diabetes mellitus, or coronary heart illness.

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