Omicron variant crashes Thanksgiving weekend – archyde

We take a three-day break from writing a newsletter and see what happens – a new variant of Covid-19 called Omicron has turned the world upside down high alert about its potential to spread quickly, bypass protection from current vaccines, and increase the risk of re-infection. Never again.

What is Omicron and why has the WHO classified it as a “questionable variant”? Also known as B11529, this variant is like a particularly powerful Covid X-Man. Omicron has more than 30 mutations on the critical spike protein that the virus uses to attach to human cells. It is not yet known if it causes more serious disease than previously discovered strains.

It was first identified by researchers in South Africa looking at a surge in cases in the country’s most populous region. However, over the weekend, cases of Omicron were discovered in a number of European countries, as well as in Israel, Australia and other countries. Dr. Fauci also said he wouldn’t be surprised if Omicron already spreads in the US.

Countries impose travel restrictions to slow the spread

Israel has banned all foreigners from entering the country. The USA, Germany, Japan, Canada and many others also restrict travel from countries in southern Africa. In defense of US travel restrictions, Biden said, “I’ve decided we are going to be careful,” given the US’s lethargic response to curbing the spread of another variant of Covid-19, Delta.

But South Africa is furious, with the argument that it is economically punished because it can recognize new variants. Travel companies also fought against the renewed restrictions.

Will current vaccines against Omicron work?

We’ll find out shortly. BioNTech is currently investigating how well the vaccine developed with Pfizer combats the new variant. Moderna does the same and the results could be known in weeks.

  • Paul Burton, Moderna’s chief medical officer, told the BBC that his company will provide a new vaccine designed to neutralize Omicron in early 2022.
  • Pfizer and BioNTech also said they could deliver a new vaccine within 100 days.

Bottom line: We are still in the very early stages of understanding Omicron and how it could change the course of this pandemic, so scientists emphasize patience as they collect more data.

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