The Omicron variant of Covid-19, also known as the B.1.1.529 strain, is splashed all over the international headlines. But while many wonder about the origins of this new virus, here is something we do know: The first four reported Omicron variant cases were all from patients who were “fully vaccinated.”
The Omicron variant was first identified in Botswana earlier in November, but it is believed to be fueling a present spike in cases in South Africa. Also known as the B.1.1.529 variant, it has been found in Botswana, South Africa and Hong Kong so far.
“There’s a lot we don’t understand about this variant,” Richard Lessells, an infectious-diseases physician at the University of KwaZulu-Natal in Durban, South Africa, said at a press briefing. “The mutation profile gives us concern, but now we need to do the work to understand the significance of this variant and what it means for the response to the pandemic.”
“We’re flying at warp speed,” Penny Moore, a virologist at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa, told Nature. Moore added that “at this stage it’s too early to tell anything” about the anecdotal reports of reinfections and of cases in vaccinated individuals.
The government of Botswana’s Covid-19 Task Force, however, has revealed critical information about the origins of the Omicron variant that is not yet being widely reported in the U.S. media.
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