National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Dr. Anthony Fauci said Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press” that the new Omicron Covid variant of COVID-19 was “troublesome” because it could “evade” immunity from the vaccines.
On the current COVID vaccines, Fauci said, “It may not be as good in protecting against initial infection. But it has a very important impact on diminishing the likelihood that you’re going to get a severe outcome from it. So this is a clarion call, as far as I’m concerned, of saying let’s put aside all these differences we have and say, if you’re not vaccinated, get vaccinated. If you’re fully vaccinated, get boosted. And get the children vaccinated.”
Fauci said, “Right now, what we have is we have the window into the mutations that are in this new variant. And they are troublesome in the fact that there are about 32 or more variants in that very important spike protein of the virus, which is the business end of the virus. And there are about ten or more of these mutations that are on that part of the virus. We call it the receptor-binding domain, that actually binds to the cells in your nasopharynx and in your lung.”
Fauci added, “In other words, the profile of the mutations strongly suggests that it’s going to have an advantage in transmissibility and that it might evade immune protection that you would get, for example, from a monoclonal antibody or from the convalescent serum after a person’s been infected, and possibly even against some of the vaccine-induced antibodies. It’s not necessarily that that’s going to happen, but it’s a strong indication that we really need to be prepared for that.”
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