Covid-19 vaccines appear to protect against known variants, WHO says

Covid-19 vaccines currently being used to fight the pandemic in Europe appear to protect against all variants circulating and causing concern, the World Health Organization regional director said Thursday.

Hans Kluge said health authorities should remain vigilant for the rising number of cases in the Covid-19 region caused by a variant emerging in India, but stressed that vaccination and infection control measures would help prevent its spread.

“All Covid-19 virus variants that have appeared to date are responding to the available, approved vaccines,” Kluge told a news conference.

Countries across Europe are introducing vaccines from a variety of drug manufacturers, including Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson.

Allow me to emphasize this.

That all # COVID19 virus variants can be checked in the same way. With public health and social measures.

And that all # COVID19 virus variants that have emerged so far do respond to the available, approved vaccines. @hans_kluge

– WHO / Europe (@WHO_Europe) May 20, 2021

Since the last variant in question, known as B.1.617, was first identified in India, it has spread to at least 26 of the 53 countries in the WHO’s European region, Kluge said – “from Austria to Greece, from Israel to Kyrgyzstan “. .

“We are still learning about the new variant, but it could spread quickly,” he said, adding that in theory it could spread quickly enough to create another variant, known as B.1.1.7. , which first emerged in the UK late last year and has since become the dominant version of the virus in Europe.

Kluge said the WHO regional office was cautiously optimistic about the decline of the Covid-19 epidemic in the region.

“We’re going in the right direction, but we have to keep an eye on things,” he said. “In several countries there are areas of increasing transmission that could rapidly evolve into dangerous flare-ups … The pandemic is not over yet.”

As progress against the coronavirus pandemic remains “fragile,” Kluge also said international travel should be avoided.

“Right now, in the face of an ongoing threat and new uncertainty, we need to remain cautious and rethink or avoid international travel,” he said.

( Jowharwith REUTERS and AFP)

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