The World Health Organization warns that the new COVID-19 variant, named Omicron, first reported to occur in southern Africa, has more than 30 mutations of its spike protein. It is too early to know whether these mutations increase severity or contagiousness of disease caused by the virus, COVID-19. However, the present vaccines are all made to attack the COVID-19 virus that does not have these mutations, so it may possibly cause more severe disease and be resistant to the approved vaccines already on the market.
As a result, the United States, the European Union, Israel, Britain, Canada and other nations are limiting flights from South Africa into their countries, and other travel restrictions are likely. Several vaccine manufacturers are working on vaccines specifically for the new Omicron variant.
News of the Omicron variant should remind everyone to get their vaccinations and booster injections. This will help to reduce the number of people who become infected with COVID-19, and reduce the severity of infections that occur. Every time the virus infects a person it has the chance to produce new viruses, which increases the chances for new mutations. The more people who are infected with any variant of COVID-19, the more viruses are produced, increasing chances for more new mutations that may cause:
• more people to become infected,
• more severe disease in those infected, and
• more infections resistant to the presently-available vaccines.
Dr. Gabe Mirkin is a Villager. Learn more at www.drmirkin.com