Duke University And UNC Chapel Hill Tracking Omicron Variant Closely

The first case of Omicron variant was confirmed two weeks ago in South Africa and the prospect that the variant has infiltrated or will infiltrate the US is drawing much concern in the medical community. “We know about it, but we don’t know a lot about it. But that’s ok. We will very shortly,” says Dr. David Wohl, a leading expert on COVID, with UNC Health. Starting Monday the U.S. will ban travel from eight countries. “I think we got caught off guard by Delta and I prefer we don’t get caught off guard by this,” says Dr. Cameron Wolfe of Duke Health. “People still need to be very sensitive about their masks and their distancing.” Researchers are investigating whether the vaccines protect against Omicron like they do the Delta variant. “I’m hopeful this variant is not that different, ” Dr. Wohl says. It is projected that by next week it will be known how threatening Omicron may be and whether the current vaccines will be effective enough or will need tweaking. Pfizer says they will need 100 days to adjust their vaccine for Omicron.