The chief medical officer said he expected a universal jab to be ready at some point in mid-2023 as well as several new antiviral drugs, which should do the 'heavy lifting'

Chief medical officer stated that a universal jab would be available in the middle of 2023. There will also be several new antiviral medicines, which would do the heavy lifting.

Britain will be suffering from Covid misery for another 18 months, Chris Whitty said today.

According to the chief medical officer, he believes a universal jab will be available in 2023. He also mentioned several antiviral medications that should help with the heavy lifting.

However, he acknowledged that the ministers must rely on social controls in case vaccine-resistant strains such as Omicron threaten the NHS.

When he spoke with MPs from the Health and Social Care Select Committee, he stated that “If I project ahead, I would anticipate… in a few years, maybe 18 months… we will be able to have polyvalent vaccines, which will cover much more of our population.” [of variants].

“And we’ll probably have many antivirals… and other countermeasures. This means that the majority and almost all the heavy lifting can be performed by medical measures when we receive a new version, unless the situation is very different.

Professor Whitty stated that the UK is currently in a transition period with highly effective vaccines, but they are tailored to the original viruses. They are also being weakened with each mutated variation. 

He stated that he had come from the place of absolute poverty, and that everything needed to be handled by social distancing. 

“Where we currently are is in a transition phase. It is possible to do a lot of it. [vaccines]The boosters are vital, and I believe they will be even more important in years to come.

“How we respond to this variant is quite different from how he would have answered in the pre-vaccine era.” This is an example of the way I believe things will change. But that trend will not stop.

CMO gave a more positive assessment by stating that he expects Britain to do better with each wave due to new drugs and booster shots.

“So this doesn’t seem like a we’re going to have to do that.” [social restrictions]He added that he would check the situation every few months.

Professor Whitty also believes that Plan B, and the booster program, will suffice to avoid more serious measures this winter. However, he acknowledged there are still many key uncertainties about Omicron including whether vaccines work well and how severe they will be.

While it’s too soon to know how Omicron boosters and doses work, data from the UK suggest that Omicron jabs may be much weaker.

According to the South African government, two doses Pfizer’s jab provide more than 70% protection from severe illnesses even when there is waning immunity.   

The data regarding boosters is likely to take longer as South Africa is still not ready for them. UK scientists also believe they require 250 Omicron patients at the hospital in order to be able make an estimate of their vaccine efficacy.

Although there is currently just 15 cases of the mutant strain at UK hospitals, the actual number could be much higher because it takes so long to analyze positive variants.

The UK Health Security Agency’s chief medical officer, Dr Hopkins, stated that they will only have reliable data for the week following Christmas and New Year. 

Based on the UKHA’s 600 first-degree infections, last week, the UKHA estimated that boosters provide 70% protection against Omicron disease symptoms.

Moderna and Pfizer have already begun to tweak their Omicron vaccines. These will be released in the second half of 2022.

But vaccine companies around the world, including the Oxford University-AstraZeneca team, are also in the process of making a universal vaccine fit for a wide range of variants.  

Professor Whitty cautioned that Omicron boosters may not be able to stop it from happening to an extent. However, many people in the economy will still fall ill simultaneously and need to be isolated, creating de facto lockdown.

Professor Whitty was asked by MPs to estimate the number of cases and hospitalisations that the Omicron wave will bring.

The peak in infection will be ‘quite quick’, but he declined to elaborate because Omicron is missing’really important bits of information.

He said that he didn’t wish this to happen, but he did say something about hospitalisations. There are many possibilities. I am not saying that there is a limit to what can be done. But the maximum of 4500 people – or 4,583 – was the most extreme.

“It’s possible because this is very concentrated. It’s concentrated over short periods of time so even though it may be milder than the number that you would get if you went to hospital in one day, that could still mean that it will cause a significant increase. This is completely possible. You might be able to do it less. However, I am merely stating that it is possible.

Professor Whitty said that this could lead to people staying longer in the hospital due to their immunity from previous vaccinations. Also, fewer people might be admitted into intensive care.