Fauci warns Omicron ‘invariably’ to hit US as he warns variant more transmissible

Boris Johnson issues warning about ‘blizzard’ of coronavirus

We use your sign-up to provide content in ways you’ve consented to and to improve our understanding of you. This may include adverts from us and 3rd parties based on our understanding. You can unsubscribe at any time. More info

Presidential advisor Anthony Fauci said the US is trying to “get ahead” of the Omicron variant now several cases of the mutation have been officially reported outside of South Africa. The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) director said the coronavirus variant was found to have a large number of mutations, suggesting it could evade the protection of current vaccines as he suggested scientists can predict it to be more transmissible. Talking to Weekend TODAY, Dr Fauci said: “We don’t know that yet, but you have to be careful and assume that that’s the case.

“It also has a bunch of mutations that would suggest it could evade the protection, for example, of monoclonal antibodies and perhaps even convalescent plasma for people who’ve been infected and recovered and possibly vaccine.

“These are all maybes but the suggestion is enough.”

Concerns about transmissibility among the vaccinated and those who have recovered from the virus “make us say this is something you got to pay really close attention to and be prepared for something that serious,” Dr Fauci said.

Asked by presenter Peter Alexander whether the virus could already be in the United States, the expert could not rule it out.

JUST IN: New Covid variant fears: There are two Covid symptoms in fully vaccinated to spot

He said: “You know, I would not be surprised if it is. We have not detected it yet.

“But, when you have a virus that is showing this degree of transmissibility and you’re already having travel-related cases that they’ve noted in Israel and Belgium and in other places.

“When you have a virus like this, it almost invariably is ultimately going to go, essentially, all over.”

He added: “The issue of blocking travel from a given country is to just give us time to assess it better. That’s the reason for doing that.

Omicron variant: Scientist warns how infectious strain may be

“Not any reason to panic. But we want to give us some time to really fill in the blanks of what we don’t know right now.”

The UK reported four cases of Omicron on Saturday, with Germany confirming two cases were flagged in Bavaria.

Rome also said on Saturday one case was detected in a traveller returning from Africa.

The genome was sequenced at the Laboratory of Clinical Microbiology, Virology and Bioemergency Diagnostics of the Sacco Hospital in Milan from a positive sample of a patient coming from Mozambique.

DON’T MISS
Omicron variant could be 500% more infectious than Delta
Covid variant: Two main symptoms of Covid in fully vaccinated
Acid reflux diet: Six foods and drinks to avoid

The patient and his family contacts were in good health, the ISS said, adding that the sequence of the sample, “attributable to the one now known as variant of concern (VOC) and defined yesterday by WHO as “Omicron”, was in the process of further confirmation.

Colombia’s President Ivan Duque said on Saturday the country will extend its health state of emergency until Feb. 28 due to the emergence of a new coronavirus strain in South Africa.

Immunologist Leif Erik Sander of the Charite hospital in Berlin said current vaccines would probably offer at least some protection against the Omicron variant.

“I’m optimistic we won’t have to start from scratch,” he told the town hall, adding more research was needed.

Germany has said it will classify South Africa as a virus-variant area from Sunday. This stops short of a ban on flights but means airlines can fly only Germans to Germany from South Africa and even those who are vaccinated must spend 14 days in quarantine.

Source: Read Full Article