Dr. Anthony Fauci Says COVID Variant Omicron Might Evade Protections Gained by Vaccination, Previous Infection
Chief Medical Adviser to the President Dr. Anthony Fauci said the COVID variant Omicron might evade immune protection provided by monoclonal antibodies, convalescent plasma, and even some vaccine-induced antibodies.
Fauci discussed this particular COVID variant during his appearance on NBC's "Meet the Press" on Sunday with host Chuck Todd, The Daily Wire reported.
The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases director noted that it's a strong indication that people really need to be prepared for this possibility.
National Institutes of Health director Dr. Francis Collins said it would take two or three weeks to tell whether antibodies from vaccines or previous infections will be effective against combating Omicron, USA Today reported.
Collins told Fox News Sunday they expect that the current vaccines will most likely be sufficient to provide protection. He added that boosters would give that additional layer of protection.
However, both health leaders said the emergence of the new COVID variant is another reason for people to get the vaccine and booster shots.
COVID Variant Omicron
Last week, the World Health Organization (WHO) identified Omicron as a "variant of concern," dubbing it as more contagious, more skilled at evading public health measures, vaccines, and therapeutics, CNBC reported.
Omicron was first discovered in South Africa and had several mutations to the spike protein, allowing the virus to enter the body. Some of those mutations could result in increased antibody resistance and transmissibility.
A White House official said Fauci met with President Joe Biden and the COVID response team to address the variant and the government's response.
Meanwhile, pharmaceutical companies have responded to the new variant, with Moderna's Chief Medical Officer Paul Burton saying it could roll out a reformulated vaccine against the variant.
Pfizer and Moderna noted that they expect more information regarding the variant soon. Burton said the company has to go through a couple of weeks yet of uncertainty, noting the variant's transmissibility and severity were still unknown, including the current vaccines' effectiveness against it.
The U.S. had already said it would restrict travel for non-U.S. citizens from South Africa, Bostwana, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Lesotho, Eswatini, Mozambique, and Malawi. However, U.S. citizens who have traveled to the countries will still be able to enter the U.S.
Omicron has already been found in the U.K., Israel, Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, Italy, Australia, and Hong Kong.
Fauci acknowledged that travel bans never completely prevent the COVID variant from coming into the country, ABC News reported. However, he noted that it could delay the spread of the variant to get people better prepared.
The Delta Air Lines and United Airlines flights have continued from South Africa to the U.S. since the COVID variant was discovered.
Reuters report that U.S. health officials were set to speak with counterparts in South Africa on Sunday to get more information in real-time. Biden was already briefed by his COVID response team as officials expect the new variant to reach the U.S.
This article is owned by Latin Post.
Written by Mary Webber
WATCH: Full Fauci Interview: 'We Really Need To Be Prepared' For Omicron Covid Transmission - From NBC News
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