CDC Wants Individuals to Take Additional Precaution Following Spreading Omicron

Testing After COVID Variant Omicron Outbreak (Photo: Getty Images)

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a recommendation on Friday advising individuals with weakened immune systems to take additional precautions against Covid-19, following the emergence of dominant omicron subvariants that have rendered a key antibody treatment ineffective.

According to the CDC, these precautions entail wearing a high-quality mask and practicing social distancing in situations where avoiding crowded indoor spaces is not feasible.

The guidance was prompted by the Food and Drug Administration’s decision on Thursday to revoke its authorization of Evusheld, a combination antibody injection that had been used by immunocompromised individuals as an extra layer of defense against Covid-19 infection.

The FDA’s action was based on Evusheld’s ineffectiveness against 95% of the omicron subvariants currently circulating in the United States, including the XBB subvariants, which now account for 64% of new cases, and the BQ family responsible for 31% of reported infections.

Despite the general population returning to pre-pandemic routines as Covid-19 transmission has decreased, individuals with weakened immune systems remain vulnerable to severe illness due to their reduced immune response to vaccines.

Omicron Variant (Photo: Getty Images)

The CDC emphasized the importance for such individuals to maintain up-to-date Covid-19 vaccination status by receiving the omicron booster, as these shots significantly reduce the risk of severe disease.

In case individuals with weakened immune systems develop symptoms of Covid-19, the CDC advises prompt testing and treatment with an antiviral within five to seven days of symptom onset.

Antiviral treatment options include Paxlovid, remdesivir, or molnupiravir, with the recommendation that patients consult their healthcare provider to determine the most appropriate treatment.

Some individuals may not be able to take Paxlovid due to potential interactions with other medications they are prescribed.

People with weakened immune systems encompass individuals such as cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy, organ transplant recipients on immunosuppressive medications, individuals with advanced HIV infection, and those with congenital immune deficiencies.

According to CDC data, approximately 7 million adults in the U.S. have a condition, such as cancer, that compromises their immune system.

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