The Omicron variant of coronavirus has been present in 20 international locations thus far however not the US but, Dr. Anthony Fauci, chief medical adviser to President Biden and director of the National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, stated Tuesday.
“Confirmed cases as of yesterday was 205 in 18 countries and just this morning, that’s gone up to 226 in 20 countries, and I think you’re going to expect to see those numbers change rapidly. Importantly it has not yet been detected in the United States,” Fauci advised a White House briefing on the pandemic.
Fauci stated Omicron appears very completely different from the now-dominant Delta variant.
“This mutational profile is very different from other variants of interest and concern. And although some mutations are also found in Delta, this is not Delta. It’s something different. And these mutations have been associated with increased transmissibility and immune evasion, whereas other of the mutations have not yet been characterized as to their functional capability,” he stated.
“Obviously, when you look at the molecular configuration of those particular variants, it suggests strongly that there’s increased transmission compared with the original pandemic virus, but it is difficult to infer what the relationship between this transmissibility is and Delta. Although you can suggest it might be more, we do not know until we see the dynamics of how this evolves,” he added.
Fauci stated whereas the variant carries many mutations, vaccines are doubtless to shield individuals in opposition to extreme illness at the least, even when the variant doesn’t stimulate the immune system in the identical approach as older variants do.
“What about vaccine effectiveness? Now obviously, significant reductions in the neutralizing titers are possible. And we say that because the mutations suggest immune evasion. But remember, as with other variants, although partial immune escape may occur, vaccines, and particularly boosters, give a level of antibody that even with variants like Delta give you a degree of protection, particularly against severe disease. So there’s every reason to believe as we talk about boosters, when you get a level high enough that you are going to get at least some degree of cross protection, particularly against severe disease,” he stated.
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