Early indications of the severity of the Omicron Covid-19 variant are “a bit encouraging,” prime US pandemic advisor Anthony Fauci mentioned Sunday, whereas cautioning extra info was nonetheless wanted.
“Omicron has a transmission benefit” in South Africa, the place the variant was first reported, Fauci mentioned in a CNN interview, noting the nation had a low stage of circumstances earlier than it noticed “virtually a vertical spike upwards, which is sort of completely Omicron.”
“Although it is too early to actually make any definitive statements about it, to this point, it doesn’t appear like there’s a terrific diploma of severity to it,” he mentioned.
“To this point, the indicators are a bit encouraging.”
Medical specialists have in latest days underscored that the South African inhabitants skews younger and that extra extreme circumstances may emerge within the coming weeks.
Lab exams are underway to find out whether or not Omicron — a closely mutated pressure of the virus — is extra transmissible than different strains, proof against immunity from vaccination and an infection or extra extreme, with outcomes anticipated inside weeks.
“I believe that there is a actual danger that we’ll see a lower in effectiveness of the vaccines,” Stephen Hoge, president of vaccine producer Moderna, instructed ABC.
“What I do not know is how substantial that’s,” he added. “Is it going to be the sort of factor that we noticed with the Delta variant, which is, in the end vaccines had been nonetheless efficient, or are we going to see one thing like a 50 % lower in efficacy, which might imply we have to reboot the vaccines.”
Moderna, like different pharmaceutical corporations, together with Pfizer, has already began work to adapt their vaccines if needed.
Circumstances of the Omicron variant have to date been confirmed in a minimum of 15 states and a few 40 international locations.
The USA final week imposed a journey ban on South Africa and 7 different southern African international locations to stem the variant unfold.
Fauci mentioned on Sunday he hoped the restrictions can be lifted “inside a fairly cheap time period.”
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