A new variant of the coronavirus has arrived, troubling epidemiologists, worried that the new variant’s mutations could make it more contagious.
According to a report, scientists are racing to learn more about COVID’s omicron variant as new cases are confirmed.
On Thanksgiving Day, discussions were taking place in Washington and other capitals across the world about ways to stop the potential threat. The discussions, which could result in travel restrictions and other measures, highlighted long-standing tensions about the United States and other nations that appear to be averse to the developing nations, as well as regarding the differences in the levels of vaccination.
On Saturday (Nov. 27), COVID-19-related cases of the omicron variant were identified or suspected in an expanding circle of countries, including Britain and Germany. Pharmaceutical companies accelerated the creation of new formulations that target the Omicron variant.
“This is the highest level of alert we’ve ever been on, by far,” since devising the initial batch of vaccines last year, said Stephen Hoge, Moderna’s president. “What’s most scary about this virus is it’s managed to put all of its greatest hits into one [omicron] variant and then has added maybe ten mutations that we don’t even know what to think of yet.”
Questions persist as the world is waiting to know how far the new strain has spread and whether or not it can evade current vaccines.
“We’re doing all these things, which may seem somewhat draconian,” Anthony S. Fauci, President Biden’s top coronavirus adviser, said in an interview. “It’s only because you want to be better safe than sorry. . . . You’ve got to prepare for the worst and hope it’s not going to be the worst at all.”
As a person’s immune system is designed to fight pathogens, government officials and researchers said they were prepared to react rapidly to this new threat after two years of learning from the outbreak. It is believed that the United States, the European Union, and other countries, including Israel, have already taken steps to restrict traveling to South Africa and nearby countries despite the harsh criticisms of African officials and health experts who considered the actions unproductive.
Data taken from South Africa, where officials believe omicron caused an outbreak at an alarming speed, suggest that the new variant is spreading more rapidly than delta. In the populous Gauteng province around Johannesburg, positive swab tests increased from 3.6 percent on Wednesday to 9.1 percent on Friday. The nation (South Africa) is anticipating an eventuality of health services becoming overwhelmed.
Meanwhile, at the White House, the president’s chief coronavirus advisor told reporters that he’s waiting for more data before making a conclusion on the risks of omicron.