U.S. infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci told CNN in an interview on Sunday evening that early studies of the Omicron variant are proving to be a bit encouraging, while still cautioning about the infectiousness of the virus.
“Omicron has a transmission advantage” in South Africa, where the variant was first reported, said Fauci in a CNN interview, noting the country had a low level of cases before it saw “almost a vertical spike upwards, which is almost exclusively Omicron.”
“Though it’s too early to really make any definitive statements about it, thus far, it does not look like there’s a great degree of severity to it. Thus far, the signals are a bit encouraging,” said Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
Despite the global hubbub over the variant- lab tests are underway to determine whether Omicron is more transmissible than other strains, resistant to immunity from vaccination and infection, or more severe, with results expected within weeks.
Currently, numerous nations have banned foreign visitors, and most countries have disbanded South Africans from entering. Cases of the Omicron variant have so far been confirmed in at least 16 U.S. states and some 40 countries.