Dr. Megan Ranney Has Some Answers About The Scary Omicron Variant!

Dr. Megan Ranney Has Some Answers About The Scary Omicron Variant!

After being discovered in South Africa, the Omicron variant is a reality in the United States as well. But how much of a concern is this new form of COVID-19?
The first case was confirmed in California after the patient traveled from South Africa and health officials confirmed that they had been vaccinated and that their case was fortunately mild.
Now, Brown University researcher, emergency room physician at Lifespan and national commentator Dr. Megan Ranney has some more answers about this new COVID-19 variant.
She says that “Time will tell if it is as serious as the preliminary reports suggest that it may be. This is science happening in real time in truly lightning speed Barbara. For us to not just identify a virus mutation, genetic code then be able to identify the degree to which the existing vaccines work all within a matter of weeks is all unheard of prior to COVID-19 and is a testament to the international collaboration.”
As you probably know, the world has been dealing with the highly transmissible and deadly Delta variant but studies suggest Omicron is even more dangerous.
Ranney explains that “The thing about omicron is that it has numerous mutations to a lot of different parts of its genome that make it potentially much more transmissible and much more difficult to fight with some of the strategies that we already have.”
She went on to note that Omicron is definitely not good news, especially for those who are not vaccinated and just rely on monoclonal antibodies.
This is because “There are some preliminary reports suggesting that the monoclonal antibodies may not work as well against Omicron as they have against the other variants. All of the reports from South Africa suggest that they’re seeing Omicron much more frequently in people who are unvaccinated than people who are vaccinated. The vaccine helps to develop a natural immunity in your body to fend off the real virus when it’s exposed to it. But as the virus mutates, that immunity may not work as well.”
There are still many questions about this mutation of the virus but for now, not much is known.
But you might be interested in knowing how it affects holiday traveling since the winter holidays right around the corner.
Ranney shares that “What I’m telling folks is to just press pause. We will know a lot more in one to two weeks and we’ll be able to provide better guidance then about the safety of travel and whether any of our plans need to be modified.”
For the time being, it appears that the best defense we have is the vaccine, especially the booster for those who have already received the first two doses.
Furthermore, health officials continue to recommend that you wear a mask inside regardless of your vaccination status if surrounded by a group of people from outside your household and make sure they do too this holiday season.

Katherine Baldwin

Katherine is just getting her start as a journalist. She attended a technical school while still in high school where she learned a variety of skills, from photography to nutrition. Her enthusiasm for both natural and human sciences is real so she particularly enjoys covering topics on medicine and the environment.

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