Scientists Race To Test Omicron Variant Against COVID-19 Vaccines

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News of the Omicron variant has prompted health officials and scientists around the world to prepare –– and hopefully prevent –– yet another coronavirus surge.

While several nations have banned air travel to several African countries, researchers are testing whether the currently available vaccines provide adequate protection against the newest variant.

So far, early data is varied and shows that the Omicron variant may be even more transmissible and possibly better at evading immune resistance –– both through vaccine and natural infection –– than other variants we already seen, scientists have said in interviews, The New York Times reported.

Right now, scientists say that currently available vaccines are still effective at preventing severe illness and death, but booster shots may be needed to protect most people. Still, Pfizer and Moderna are looking at the possibility of reformulating their vaccine, just in case.

"We really need to be vigilant about this new variant and preparing for it," Dr. Jesse Bloom, a Seattle-based evolutionary biologist told The Times.

Dr. Bloom added that it will most likely take a "few weeks" before scientists have a "better sense of how much this variant is spreading and how necessary it might be to push forward with a variant vaccine."

While there are not any known cases of the Omicron variant in the US, it has been detected in the UK, Israel, Hong Kong, Australia, Canada, and more.

America's top infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci said over the weekend it's too early to say about lockdowns and mandates, but that the US should "anything and everything" to combat the newest Covid-19 variant.

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