New Delhi: As the world faces the fear of new COVID-19 variant Omicron, the Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genomics Consortium (INSACOG) has suggested a COVID-19 vaccine booster dose for those above 40 years of age and at-risk people.
The top Indian genome scientists have recommended in its bulletin on November 29 that those who are above 40 years and at high risk or high exposure may be prioritised for the booster dose, ANI reported.
"Vaccination of all remaining unvaccinated at-risk people and consideration of a booster dose for those 40 years of age and over, first targeting the most high-risk or high-exposure may be considered since low levels of neutralising antibodies from current vaccines are unlikely to be sufficient to neutralise Omicron, although the risk of severe disease is still likely to be reduced," INSACOG said in a statement.
Further, the INSACOG said ‘genomic surveillance will be critical for early detection’ of the Omicron variant and to enable required public health measures. “Monitoring travel to and from the known affected areas and contact tracing of COVID-19 cases with an epidemiological link to the affected areas has been implemented along with increased testing (with the sequencing of confirmed cases and possible SGTF based rapid screening),” the statement added.
This comes amid the demands of MPs for a booster dose of COVID-19 vaccines during a discussion in the Lok Sabha on the pandemic situation in India.
On Thursday, the Serum Institute of India (SII) sought India’s drug regulator's approval for a booster dose of Covishield in the wake of the Omicron threat.
Meanwhile, Karnataka logged India's first two cases of the new "variant of concern" Omicron, Lav Agarwal, Joint Secretary, Union Health Ministry said on Thursday.
(With agency inputs)