Experts Say That Antiviral Treatments Should Work Against Omicron

Nikki Attkisson | Last Updated : December 11, 2021

Harvard experts say that a reshuffling of the way that doctors could treat Covid could be prompted by the Omicron variant. They added that the way would be led by antiviral pills.

Experts Say That Antiviral Treatments Should Work Against Omicron

The researchers noted that the Omicron variant will be ineffective against the new antiviral pills that were developed by Merck and Pfizer. 

Experts Say That Antiviral Treatments Should Work Against Omicron

They also said that this would be mainly due to the interference, inability of the virus to replicate itself. This is in contravention to its ability to infect human cells.

Dr. Jonathan Abraham said that parts of the virus that are more stowed away from the immune system are targeted by the pills.

Monoclonal antibodies, which are the best treatments against the Delta variant will most likely lose their effectiveness against the new Omicron strain due to the number of mutations.

Stephen Kissler said that the antibodies’ ability to neutralize the virus is being tampered with by the new variant. He added that some of these antibodies are going to be modified in order to make them more effective against the new variant.

According to data from the CDC, the new Omicron variant has already been found in about 21 states in the United States. This occurred after it first appeared in South Africa.

99% of Covid cases in the US are still due to the Delta variant which is highly contagious.

It has been anticipated by experts in Harvard that the Omicron variant would become the dominant strain due to it being more infectious.

Kissler said that he expected the Omicron variant to replace the Delta variant in a few weeks. He said that some places have already begun to see an increase in the rate of transmission and added that the next 6 to 8 weeks is probably a reasonable time to expect to see the effects.

Antibodies are created by vaccines and natural immunity. These antibodies go after the spike protein of the virus. This is the part of the virus that facilitates the entry of the virus into human cells.

As the Omicron has developed over 30 mutations to its spike protein, experts are concerned that Covid could evade the antibodies.

Dr. Jacob Lemieux said that the vaccines would be rendered ineffective by the more transmissible variant.

He said that the antiviral pills mess with the virus as it attempts to replicate itself.

Abraham said that the virus creates flawed copies of itself when it interacts with Molnupiravir.

He further explained that the copy machine for the virus becomes very sloppy and the virus doesn’t function properly due to the number of mistakes it is making.

The rate of getting hospitalized and dying is reportedly reduced by 30% by Merck.

The drug was approved after an advisory panel of the FDA voted on the matter.

A type of antiviral drug that is used to treat HIV is Paxlovid. It is a protease inhibitor. The action of the enzyme that the virus requires to replicate itself is inhibited by the drug. The spread of the virus is eventually stopped by this.

89% was the figure quoted by Pfizer with regards to its ability to prevent hospitalization and death. The FDA will soon receive the clinical trial results from Pfizer.

Comparisons have been made to Tamiflu as both the drugs can be prescribed and taken at home.

Abraham said that the mutations of the Omicron variant do not mean that monoclonal antibodies are entirely out of the picture.

He added that 3 to 6 months could be taken to create monoclonal antibodies to deal with Omicron.

He said that the drug will be needed to be taken precisely.

Nikki Attkisson

With over 15 years as a practicing journalist, Nikki Attkisson found herself at Powdersville Post now after working at several other publications. She is an award-winning journalist with an entrepreneurial spirit and worked as a journalist covering technology, innovation, environmental issues, politics, health etc. Nikki Attkisson has also worked on product development, content strategy, and editorial management for numerous media companies. She began her career at local news stations and worked as a reporter in national newspapers.

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