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Dr. Ed discusses the Omicron variant, vaccine protection, antibody treatment

Published: Dec. 3, 2021 at 3:42 PM CST
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EAST TEXAS (KLTV/KTRE) - Dr. Ed Dominguez, an infectious disease specialist, joined Jeremy G. Butler on East Texas Now to share what he knows about the new COVID-19 variant, Omicron.

The Omicron variant of COVID-19 is beginning to be found in places outside of the country of South Africa, where the variant was discovered.

Doctor Ed said for those wanting to get boosters, it’s reasonable to get them quicker than first expected. “I do think that it’s a reasonable thing to not wait the six months to try to get the protection soon, the sooner the better. Now are these vaccines going to be as protective as they were for the original strain, we don’t think so but there is just not enough experience.”

Doctor Ed explained why scientists think the new variant may be less phased by the current vaccines in place. “The fact that there are over 50 different mutations, with Delta we saw about 15, somewhere in that area, it was in the teens, the number of mutations in the spike protein.”

“And these are significant mutations that are allowing it to elude or to avoid the antibodies, the antibody preparations, monoclonal antibodies like Regeneron.”

Doctor Ed said right now, it is still not clear how potent this new variant will be in people. “Now what we don’t know is how severe the disease is going to be, we are learning bits and pieces from other places, but they only have small numbers of patients apart from South Africa.”

Scientists are waiting to see just how this new variant will act. “We’re not quite sure whether this is going to be like Delta where a lot of people were hospitalized or more like the UK variant where there were a bit more people who were asymptomatic and less symptomatic.”

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