Researchers rush to develop vaccine against Omicron - RTHK
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Researchers rush to develop vaccine against Omicron

2021-12-01 HKT 17:31
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  • Yuen Kwok-yung says an inactivated vaccine can be developed in a few months in the fight against the Omicron variant. File Photo: RTHK
    Yuen Kwok-yung says an inactivated vaccine can be developed in a few months in the fight against the Omicron variant. File Photo: RTHK
Scientists at the University of Hong Kong said on Wednesday they will collaborate with mainland drug makers to develop a vaccine against the Omicron variant, adding that it would take a few months to make an inactivated vaccine using the Covid-19 virus they had successfully isolated from a specimen.

Team leader, microbiologist Yuen Kwok-yung, said he could not disclose the names of the companies because they have not yet signed an agreement.

Yuen said that the isolation of the Omicron variant was an important step towards finding out how transmissible and virulent it is, while the virus could also be used to test the efficacy of existing vaccines and treatments.

"We are open to any collaboration. If we can help with the fight against this pandemic, we're happy to share the virus with anyone who really need it and have the expertise to work with it," he said.

The expert also said people who have not been vaccinated should not wait for next-generation vaccines but get inoculated immediately to protect themselves.

He noted that the first two imported Omicron cases in Hong Kong involved travellers who have been fully vaccinated.

Yuen said their immune response showed the vaccine they'd received offered a satisfactory level of protection. "Within just a few days, their antibodies have gone up at least 10 times, which is very satisfactory especially in terms of the immunological memory," he said.