December 4, 2022

Coronavirus News LIVE Updates: Pfizer vaccine provides partial protection against Omicron, says study

Experts at the World Health Organization recommended against using blood plasma from people who have recovered from COVID-19 as a treatment for patients with the illness, saying evidence has not shown the costly, time-consuming transfusions to be effective in preventing severe illness or death. The guidance against the use of convalescent plasma, a component of blood that is rich in antibodies, was published in the British Medical Journal based on results from 16 trials involving more than 16,000 patients with varying degrees of coronavirus infection, WHO said.

New York City employers will have to mandate COVID-19 vaccinations for their workers under new rules announced Monday by Mayor Bill de Blasio. The vaccine mandate for private businesses will take effect from December 27 and is aimed at preventing a spike in COVID-19 infections during the holiday season and the colder months, the Democratic mayor said on MSNBC’s Morning Joe. We in New York City have decided to use a preemptive strike to really do something bold to stop the further growth of COVID and the dangers it’s causing to all of us, de Blasio said. All private-sector employers in New York City will be covered by this vaccine mandate as of Dec. 27. Vaccinations are already required for hospital and nursing home workers and city employees including teachers, police officers and firefighters. A vaccination mandate for employees of private and religious schools was announced last week.

Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai hinted that new COVID-19 guidelines could be brought out in view of the infections appearing in clusters and the possible scenario this month and in January next year. Today I will collect details pertaining to COVID-19 in November from our officials, which would be presented before the cabinet tomorrow. Whatever is happening with regard to the Omicron variant and the developments taking place in COVID-19 clusters will be placed before the cabinet and accordingly, a decision will be taken on issuing a fresh set of guidelines,the Chief Minister told reporters.

The Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine provides less immunity against Omicron than from other coronavirus variants, according to a lab study that suggests a booster may still provide good protection. The yet-to-be peer-reviewed study, posted on the pre-print repository medRxiv on Tuesday, found that considerable immunity is retained in people who were both vaccinated and previously infected. The emergence of Omicron has raised concerns that, based on a large number of mutations in the spike protein and elsewhere on the virus, this variant will have a considerable escape from vaccine-elicited immunity. The SARS-CoV-2 virus uses the spike protein to enter and infect human cells.

The Goa government said that all the 245 passengers who arrived in the state from the UK during the day tested negative for coronavirus infection. State Health Minister Vishwajit Rane made the announcement on Twitter. As per Goa Airport, the 97th Vande Bharat Mission flight arrived with 245 passengers on board from London-Heathrow on Tuesday morning. So far, five patients including two Russians have been isolated in the state on suspicion that they might be carrying the Omicron variant infection. Their samples have been sent for genome sequencing and results are awaited.

Mizoram registered 273 new COVID-19 cases — 57 cases less than the previous day which raised the tally to 1,37,057, a health department official said. The death toll remained unchanged at 508 as no fatality was reported in the past 24 hours. At least 354 people recuperated from the disease since Tuesday, pushing the total number of recoveries to 1,33,510, the official said. Aizawl reported 146 fresh cases, followed by Lunglei at 23 and Champhai at 22. The state capital has so far recorded as many as 82,956 cases and 350 deaths. The recovery rate stands at 97.41 percent, which is less than the national average of 98.36 percent. The death rate touched 0.37 percent against the national average of 1.37 percent, the official said. Mizoram currently has 3,039 active cases.