The White House’s top doctor, Anthony Fauci, said Friday the new Omicron variant of COVID-19 could already be in the United States.
Over the last few days, the Biden administration and national media have made much of the new variant.
Fauci made his remarks during an interview on CNN.
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This new strain or variant of COVID-19 is reportedly finding its way through southern Africa. Some countries have restricted people in the affected regions from traveling, including the U.S.
When CNN host Brianna Keilar asked Fauci if the new variant may already be in the U.S., the doctor replied, “Of course anything is possible, we don’t know that, there’s no indication that it is right now, it seemed to have been restricted.”
“There were some cases that originated in South Africa and that went to Botswana, and people who travelled and found out they were infected and one that had gone actually to Hong Kong,” Fauci added. “So there’s a lot of travel, you never know exactly.”
“We don’t know that for sure right now, this is really something that’s in motion and we just arranged right now a discussion between our scientists and the South African scientists a little bit later in the morning,” Fauci added.
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The media has hinted that some experts worry that this new strain might evade current vaccinations natural immunity.
Keilar asked Fauci, “So, explain to us the questions and the concerns about how this might evade immunity because there are so many mutations here on the spike protein, which is what a vaccine — the vaccines that we have are designed to hit. The question is now going to be, right, is that spike protein still permeable when it comes to the vaccine?”
Fauci said on this subject, “Yes, that’s what we’re going to be finding out. Because when you look at a mutation it can give you a hint or a prediction that it might evade the immune response. What you need to do is you need to get that particular sequence of the virus and put it in a form in the lab where you can actually test the different antibodies so you can have a prediction that it might evade or you can actually prove it.”
‘Once you test it you’ll know for sure whether or not it does or does not evade the antibodies that we make, for example, against the virus through a vaccine, or following convalescent after you get infected, when you get antibodies,” Fauci said. “The answer is we don’t know right now, but we’re gonna find out for sure.”
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