New Covid-19 Variant and Potential 5th Wave: What We Know

covid variants

A new COVID-19 variant (Omicron) was discovered by South African authorities, sparking travel bans to several southern African countries.

The newly identified variant has been detected in South Africa, Botswana, Hong Kong, Canada, UK, Netherlands, Belgium, and more.

What do we know about the new variant?

The World Health Organization (WHO) on Monday said the variant is likely to spread internationally and poses a very high risk of infection surges that could have “severe consequences” in some places.

On Thursday during a social media Q&A session, WHO’s technical lead for COVID-19, Maria Van Kerkhove, said, “We don’t know very much about this yet. What we do know is that this variant has a large number of mutations, and the concern is that when you have so many mutations, it can have an impact on how the virus behaves.”

There have been 100 sequences of the variant reported so far and, more crucially, South African genomic scientists said more than 30 of the mutations were found in the spike protein which the virus uses to get into the cells they attack.

South Africa’s minister of health added that this variant seems highly contagious among young people.

Next steps for the B.1.1.529 Variant?

Right now, we do not know what the effect of the new variant will be. The next steps will be determining the variant’s transmissibility and the effectiveness of vaccines and therapeutics against it, which can take several weeks.

Scientists at BioNTech have already started investigating the impact of the new coronavirus variant on its COVID-19 vaccine, with data expected within the next couple of weeks.

It is also unclear where the new mutation emerged from. While it was first identified in South Africa, it may have come from elsewhere.

Scientists have praised South African health authorities for their quick reaction to a COVID-19 outbreak in the country’s Gauteng province, which led to the discovery of the new variant.

What we know about a potential 5th wave in the United States

Currently in the U.S., about 60% of the population is fully vaccinated against COVID. However, the vaccination rate is staying stubbornly low, and experts say the high amount of unvaccinated people will most likely allow a fifth wave to come.

Hopefully, this fifth wave will not spike as high as previous waves due to the oral COVID pill and booster shots being made available.

But there is still a big concern for unvaccinated people as they are roughly 6 times as likely to test positive for COVID and over 11 times as likely to die from COVID as vaccinated individuals, according to recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In many states, there is already a rise in confirmed COVID cases, which could be an early indication of a fifth wave of infections and related deaths. The holiday season will likely increase this trend into the new year.

CNS Occupational Medicine is offering Pfizer and Moderna Booster Shots at our clinic!

Please bring these items with you to your appointment

  • Vaccine Card (not a copy)
  • Photo ID (copy if available)

Large study finds Moderna vaccine more effective than Pfizer against COVID-19

Researchers in Hungary found that the Moderna vaccine is more effective than Pfizer’s.

This large study of more than 3.7 million adults reviewed the effectiveness of five vaccines in people at least seven days after they received their second dose.

  • ·         Moderna’s vaccine was 88.7% effective in protecting against coronavirus infection and 93.6% effective against COVID-related mortality

    ·         Russia’s Sputnik5 vaccine was 85.7% and 95.4

    ·         Pfizer vaccine was 83.3% and 90.6

    ·         AstraZeneca and Sinopharm vaccines had less than 50% effectiveness against COVID-19 infection in people aged 85 and older, compared with 84.1% for the same age group for Moderna and 74.3% for Pfizer

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Please be advised that all articles, blogs and written material are not intended to replace the advice of a physician.

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