Omicron Variant Breaks Through COVID-19 Booster Protection
The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) today announced that the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus variant known as Omicron was found in a fully-vaccinated Minnesota man with recent travel history to New York City.
The adult man’s symptoms have since resolved. And MDH has advised the man to self-isolate.
Furthermore, CNBC reported this Hennepin County resident had received a ‘booster’ third vaccination in early November 2021.
Minnesota Governor Tim Walz commented in a press release, “This news is concerning, but it is not a surprise. We know that this virus is highly infectious and moves quickly throughout the world.”
The person developed mild symptoms on Nov. 22 and sought COVID-19 testing on Nov. 24 in Minnesota.
The person spoke with MDH case investigators and reported attending the Anime NYC 2021 convention at the Javits Center from Nov. 19-21.
Minnesota epidemiologists are in collaboration with New York City and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Recently, the State of California and the San Francisco Department of Public Health confirmed the first Omicron variant case in California on December 1, 2021.
And a vaccinated woman in Colorado who hadn’t yet received a booster shot tested positive for Omicron, reported the Denver Post today.
Additionally, today the AP reported authorities in Madrid confirmed Spain's first case of the Omicron variant in a vaccinated person and were investigating other suspected cases.
While The World Health Organization (WHO) classifies Omicron as a Variant of Concern, scientists are still working to determine how it may compare with the predominant Delta variant in terms of transmissibility and disease severity.
The WHO confirmed on December 2, 2021, that Omicron has a high number of mutations (32) in its spike protein, and preliminary evidence suggests an increased risk of reinfection compared with other variants of concern.
In response, the WHO warned that the global risk from Omicron is ‘very high.’
And scientists also are studying the degree to which existing COVID-19 vaccines and therapies protect against Omicron.
A non-peer-reviewed study published on Dec. 2 estimated the hazard ratio for reinfection versus primary infection from 1 November 2021 to 27 November 2021 versus wave one was 2.39 (CI95: 1.88-3.11).
This population-level evidence suggests that the Omicron variant is associated with a substantial ability to evade immunity from prior infection.
In contrast, there is no population-wide epidemiological evidence of immune escape associated with the Beta or Delta variants.
This finding has important implications for public health planning in countries with high immunity rates from prior infection.
Their findings show that the relative risk of reinfection has been stable during previous waves, but the Omicron risk has increased three-fold based on this preliminary data.
Moreover, questions remain regarding whether Omicron can also evade vaccine-induced immunity and the potential implications of reduced immunity to this infection on protection against severe disease and death.
Firms such as Moderna Inc. have already announced plans to develop variant-specific COVID-19 vaccines.
And, as of December 1, 2021, Eli Lilly’s Sotrovimab (Xevudy) anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibody treatment had demonstrated ongoing activity against tested VOC defined by the WHO.
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