A doctor administers a vaccine targeted at the Omicron variant in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, on May 1, 2022. (Photo by Zhang Yuhuan/China News Service)
Health volunteers in Hangzhou city, the capital of East China's Zhejiang province, received the first shot of a Sinopharm vaccine developed specifically to take on the Omicron variant of the COVID-19 virus, on May 1.This marks the start of clinical trials for the first Omicron inactivated vaccine in the world.
While the effectiveness of existing vaccines remains to be seen, that of some drugs that reinforce antibodies has dimmed.
Besides, there is always a time gap between the mutations of the virus and the development of vaccines.
Therefore, updating vaccines or manufacturing one specifically to take on the Omicron strain has become necessary, more so because the new variant has a much lower incubation period and higher infection rate.
An updated vaccine will help promote an immunity protection line against Omicron, which will in turn help to contain the spread of the Omicron variant.
The new vaccine against the Omicron strain entering clinical trials has definitely raised hopes.
But that does not mean one can lower one's guard in the fight against the pandemic. The vaccine has just entered clinical trials, which could last 3-4 months, says Li Lanjuan, an academician with the Chinese Academy of Engineering. Only once it clears the tests can the vaccine be put to wide use.
Even after the new vaccine is introduced, one will still need to wear a mask, have one's body temperature measured before entering public places, and wash one's hands frequently.
And when newer strains of the virus arrive in the future, measures such as lockdowns will still be needed to curb their spread.
The development of the vaccine and quick response measures to curb the pandemic are based on China's good governance policy, because of which China was able to largely control the pandemic and curb potential new waves from originating in the past two years.
That has granted China the confidence that it will be able to beat the Omicron strain too.