Pre-existing Covid jabs or prior infection may still be protective against serious illness caused by the Omicron super variety, says a report that was praised by No10’s highest health leaders.

It was discovered that the new strain of virus has tripled the number of micro-mutations than Delta. However, large areas remain susceptible to the immune system. 

Italian researchers used a mathematical model of Omicron to predict how easily the virus will be detected by the human body, in an unprecedented amount of spike protein alterations.

They found that about 70 per cent of the spike had not evolved to evade vaccines or natural immunity and in theory will still be targeted by the immune system of a vaccinated or recently-infected person. 

Dr Susan Hopkins, chief medical adviser at the UK Health Security Agency and key No10 advisor, said the finding signalled a ‘glass half full’ scenario, with the variant unlikely to make jabs redundant like previously feared.

However, the immunologist raised concerns that Omicron contains three times more modifications to virus parts that are targeted in antibodies and T cells (known as epitopes) than any other variant.

The University of Milan study is ‘helpful but in no way definitive’ because it does not tell us how Omicron is ‘going to act in the real world’, according to Professor Lawrence Young, a virologist at Warwick University.

Omicron will remain unknown to scientists for at least two more weeks. Scientists can then isolate the virus and study its biology, before they test it against any vaccines.

‘It tells us we’re likely to get an immune response, either through vaccination or previous infection, but how much? Professor Young stated that they aren’t sure.  

MailOnline was also cautioned by Dr Simon Clarke of Reading University. He is a microbiologist and warned not to read too much into these findings. We don’t know this yet and not all epitopes are created equal. 

‘We are crossing our fingers that the antibodies stimulated by the vaccine bind to and block the epitopes on the virus’ spike protein, which acts like a key to our cells.’

This is the image that has sparked fear among scientists, prompted ministers to turbocharge the UK's booster vaccine rollout and seen the return of mask mandates in England. It details the new super-mutant Omicron variant's spike protein mutations which experts fear will make it the most infectious and vaccine-resistant strain yet. The graphic, released by the country's top variant monitoring team, also lays bare how it is far more evolved than even the world-dominant Delta strain, with nearly five times as many alterations on the spike

Scientists are afraid of this image, which prompted UK ministers to boost the UK’s vaccine rollout. It also saw the return of English mask mandates. Experts fear that the super-mutant Omicron Omicron variant will be the most dangerous and vaccine-resistant yet. A graphic released by the top national variant monitoring group shows that the Omicron strain has nearly five times more modifications on its spike protein than the Delta strain. 

In total, there are 46,000 Covid cases on average each day in the UK and data from the Covid Genomics UK Consortium (COG-UK) suggests the new strain is already behind around one in 66 of them, or 1.4 per cent

On average, 46,000 Covid patients are diagnosed each day in the UK. Covid Genomics UK Consortium data (COG UK) shows that around 1 in 666 cases, or 1.4%, is affected by the new strain.

Omicron has 37 mutations on the spike alone compared to Delta's nine and the 10 found on Beta, which used to be regarded as the most vaccine-resistant strain. A third variant known as Gamma, which originated in Brazil, is also shown. On the surface of the spike are tiny segments of the protein known as epitopes, which is the specific part of the protein that is recognised and targeted by the immune system. Immune cells like antibodies, B cells and T cells bind to these epitopes and like a lock and key, triggering a cascade of actions that vanquish the invader. The Milan study identified 348 T cell epitopes on Omicron that may weaken the immune response to the strain, compared to 108 on Delta and 125 on Beta. It also identified 550 B cell epitopes on Omicron compared to Delta's 198 and Beta's 231

Omicron is the only strain that has 37 mutations from the spike, while Delta had nine. Beta’s also contained 10, which was considered to be the most vaccine resistant. Gamma, a third variant, was also identified. It originated from Brazil. The epitopes are small segments of protein found on the surface of the spike. This is where the immune system targets the part that it recognizes. These epitopes are bind by immune cells such as antibodies, T cells, and B cells. This acts like a key and triggers a series of actions to eliminate the invader. Milan’s study found 348 epitopes of T cells on Omicron, which may reduce the strength and resilience to this strain. This compares to Delta’s 108 and Beta’s 125. There were also 550 B-cell epitopes found on Omicron that was higher than the Delta’s 198 or Beta’s 231.

Existing Covid jabs and prior infection should still protect people against severe illness from the Omicron super variant, according to a study hailed by one of No10's top health chiefs Dr Susan Hopkins

Pre-existing Covid jabs, and any prior infection may still be protective against serious illness caused by the Omicron super variation. This is according to a Dr Susan Hopkins study.

Omicron caused panic worldwide when South African experts raised alarm on November 24th about the possibility of its emergence. The world closed down to that region as a last resort to stop the spread.

Retroactive analysis of positive testing shows that the virus was spreading around the world, and even in Britain, before being officially identified. On November 20, nine individuals tested positive in Scotland. 

Scientists are worried about the number of mutations in spike protein that vaccines target. 

These were created to recognize the first strain of virus in China. They are now slightly less effective when dealing with new strains.

Although the effectiveness of the jabs has declined in the prevention of infection, it still provides protection from severe illnesses, even against Delta variants. 

Omicron is the only strain with 37 mutations that can be found in the spike, while Delta has nine and Beta’s 10. Omicron was previously considered the most vaccine resistant. 

The epitopes are small segments on the surface of the spike that identify specific proteins and are targeted by the immune systems.

Only 20% of 12-15-year-olds have received their first Covid vaccination in London. Labour is calling for the No10 programme to be ‘turbocharged’ 

Official figures show that less than half of London’s children have received their first Covid vaccination.

There have been delays in the entire program, and there were cancellations. Critics argue that the original decision to let children go to schools was a mistake.

Labour called No10 to “turbocharge” the campaign for younger age groupers based on up-to date NHS statistics.

Hackney is the lowest place for 12- to 15-year olds, with only 19.8% having had their first vaccination. The capital is home to all five of the lowest performing areas.

Three times the rates are found in areas that have more wealth. Fareham in Hampshire has 67% of the children who are jabbed, while South Oxfordshire’s rate is 64.33% and the New Forest (64.1%), both in Hampshire.

Bridget Phillipson Shadow Education Secretary was promoted to Labour’s frontbench. Today, Phillipson urged ministers open more walk in clinics so that children can receive their jabs. Six in ten children nationwide have yet to receive their first shot.

This is after Britain’s vaccination advisers suggested that the older age groups should receive their second dose 12 weeks following their initial, in order to avoid an Omicron wave.

Original plans for top-up jabs were halted by ministers because they could get myocarditis (a rare form of heart disease that is linked to Pfizer’s second dosage) and the vanishingly low risk of becoming seriously ill.

A new study has shown that myocarditis in children under 21 years old is mild, and can be treated quickly. This was done to reduce concerns over side effects. Even though the disease appears to have a mild form, government advisors warned that long-term effects are still unknown.

Immune cells like antibodies, B cells and T cells bind to these epitopes and like a lock and key, triggering a cascade of actions that vanquish the invader.

Milan Study identified 348 T-cell epitopes that Omicron may inhibit the immune response. These were compared with 108 for Beta and 125 respectively. Omicron also had 550 B-cell epitopes, which was more than the 198 found in Delta and Beta. 

Professor Young stated that Omicron was a finding which “confirmed” why Omicron should be worried, as it looked so much different from Beta or Delta to the immune system. 

UKHSA stated previously that current vaccines are expected to be less effective against Omicron infection than those from Delta. 

However, scientists believe the jabs can withstand serious disease or death, especially if there have been booster vaccines. 

To protect against Omicron waves, the government announced last week it would offer boosters to all 53million British adults before the end of January.  

MailOnline spoke to Professor Young, who said that boosters will provide such a strong boost of immunity that they’ll ‘by default cover every spike from any variant’.

SAGE, the UK Government’s scientific advisory group, warned ministers last week that the incoming Omicron wave could be as bad or worse for the NHS than the second coronavirus peak last winter even if its weaker than its predecessors.

Doctors in South Africa have insisted that most patients suffer only mild illness, with the US’ top Covid expert Dr Anthony Fauci claiming today it ‘doesn’t look like there’s a great degree of severity to it’.  

However, real world data shows that this highly-evolved variant of the virus is more likely than Delta to infect humans because it has increased vaccine resistance, higher infectiousness and anti-body escape.   

Omicron’s infectious nature makes it possible, according to Dr Clarke. This could lead to a surge in hospital admissions.

MailOnline was informed by him that it is not unusual for more dangerous, but less deadly, pathogens to be more problematic than viruses with less severe consequences. It could infect a large population but not hospitalize a significant number. This would still leave us with a lot of hospitalized people. 

According to Professor Paul Hunter at the University of East Anglia, there have only been 336 Omicron cases in the UK, however, it is likely that more than one thousand are already confirmed. Hunter is an expert on infectious diseases.

Based on the rapid pace at which it outpaces Delta, Professor Hunter stated that he expects it to be the dominant variety ‘probably within weeks or a month. Although this timeframe does not suggest that more regulations are needed for Christmas, it is possible to add more at some point during the New Year.  

Since Omicron alerted the rest of the world on November 24, there has been an alarming rise in South African infections.

Yesterday’s cases were 11.125, a fivefold increase in just one week. There are approximately 46,000 Covid cases per day across the UK. Data from COG-UK suggests that Omicron may be behind about one in sixty of these infections. 

British scientists have warned, however, against the notion that it’s a weaker strain. They warn that its ability to infect more people could cause significant problems for the NHS. 

One mathematical modeller predicted there could be up to 3,000 hospital admissions per day in the UK in January if Omicron takes off domestically — compared to the 4,000 per day at the peak last year. 

Clarke stated that Omicron could be ‘whitewashed’ and people would feel reassured by scientists claiming it to be a mild condition. 

According to him, Britons may not be able to use their boosters or adjust their behavior if the strain is mild. This claim he doubts.

Admissions in South Africa’s Gauteng province — ground zero of the fresh outbreak — have risen 230 per cent in the fortnight since its discovery, with 2,100 patients admitted last week, raising more doubts about the claim it’s milder. 

One study from Tshwane in Gauteng suggests that less than a quarter are for Covid. The rest of the admissions can be referred to as “incidental cases”, in which the patient was admitted for another reason. 

Only 25% of South Africans have been immunized. It is unclear how that will translate to the UK, which has more than 70%.