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    (CNN)Since South African authorities announced the arrival of a new coronavirus variant that contains an unusually large number of mutations, countries around the world have mobilized by putting into place travel restrictions and precautionary measures.There is much that's still unknown about this variant, Omicron. While scientists are gathering more information, the public wants to know how worried they should be. Is the alarm around Omicron warranted? What's already known, and what are the key pieces of information still to be researched? Are there things we can do to prepare for it? I discussed all of this with our expert, CNN Medical Analyst Dr. Leana Wen, who is an emergency physician and professor of health policy and management at the George Washington University Milken Institute School of Public Health. She is also author of a new book, "Lifelines: A Doctor's Journey in the Fight for Public Health," and the mother of two young kids. CNN: What raised alarms for scientists about Omicron, compared to other variants? Read MoreDr. Leana Wen: With new variants, there are three key questions to ask. First,...
    CHICAGO (CBS) — Amid growing questions and concerns about the new “Omicron” variant of COVID-19, President Joe Biden insisted Monday the U.S. can handle anything that comes our way, as local officials prepare for its eventual arrival here in the Chicago area. “We’ll fight this variant with scientific and knowledgeable actions and speed, not chaos and confusion,” Biden said Monday. READ MORE: Couple's Beloved Dog, Ruby, Killed In Bishop Ford Freeway Shooting The Day After Thanksgiving; 'She Was A Good, Good Pup'The president, flanked by chief medical adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci and Vice President Kamala Harris, told the nation the variant is a “cause for concern, not a cause for panic.” He said the U.S. has more tools to fight COVID-19 than ever before, and is in a much better position to fight the virus than it was in March 2020, or even December 2020. The first step in the fight: restrictions on travel from 8 countries in southern Africa, where the variant was first detected. Those went into effect on Monday. Meantime, the World Health Organization said preliminary evidence...
    SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF/AP) — University of California San Francisco infectious disease specialist Dr. Peter Chin-Hong believes the new COVID Variant ‘Omicron’ variant is already here. Here’s what you need to know. READ MORE: Travel Restrictions Begin Amid Growing Concerns Over The New COVID Omicron VariantThe World Health Organization issued a warning Friday of the variant named that has been identified in South Africa, Great Britain and other counties. South African scientists identified the new version of the coronavirus this week saying it was behind a recent spike in COVID-19 infections in Gauteng, the country’s most populous province. It’s unclear where the new variant actually arose, but it was first detected by scientists in South Africa and has now been seen in travelers to Belgium, Botswana, Hong Kong and Israel. Health Minister Joe Phaahla said the variant was linked to an “exponential rise” of cases in the last few days, although experts are still trying to determine if the new variant, named B.1.1.529, is actually responsible. From just over 200 new confirmed cases per day in recent weeks, South Africa...
    The new strain of COVID-19 that has caused worldwide alarm the last week has been detected in North America for the first time. Two cases of the Omicron variant were confirmed in Canada. Both were in Ottawa, Ontario Health Minister Christine Elliott said in a statement released Sunday evening, Nov. 28. The two infected people had traveled from Nigeria and have been isolated, Elliott said. The Omicron variant, whose name comes from the 15th letter of the Greek alphabet, is spreading fast in Europe after the first case was identified by scientists in South Africa on Tuesday, Nov. 9. Including Canada, it's now been confirmed in 17 countries. No cases of the new variant have been identified in the United States to date, but Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and the chief medical advisor to the president, said Sunday that it will arrive in America. "We all know when you have a virus that has already gone to multiple countries, inevitably it will be here," Fauci told ABC News. "The question is, will...
    PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — As more cases emerge across the world of the newfound Omicron variant of the coronavirus, it has yet to make its way to the United States. Doctors told KDKA the new variant of COVID-19 actually isn’t surprising at all and that new variants are common in viruses. READ MORE: Police Investigating After Body Found In Vacant Lot In WashingtonSo here is what you can expect in these coming months as the country prepares for another possible wave of COVID-19. A growing number of countries are scrambling to figure out how to deal with the newest variant of COVID-19. And local doctors are joining the effort to figure out more details about the little-known Omicron variant. “We don’t know whether it is more transmissible, whether it causes more severe disease or not and whether our current vaccines to mitigate against COVID will be as effective against this variant,” Dr. Arvind Venkat said. Dr. Arvind Venkat is an emergency physician with Allegheny Health Network. He said the evolution of viruses is common. READ MORE: FirstEnergy Planning West Virginia Solar...
    Why are scientists so concerned about the newest strain of COVID-19? Simply stated, when it comes to Omicron, it comes to the sheer number -- as in the number of mutations. "The main thing that has us focused on this and has caused us to be sort of 24-7 on Zoom calls the last four days is that it has so many mutations," Dr. Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health, said Sunday morning, Nov. 28 on CNN. "Omicron has more than 50 variants that make it different from the original virus, including more than 30 that are in the spike protein." The spike proteins sit on the outside of the virus, enabling it to get inside a person's cells. "The Omicron version of that, because of those changes, is going to have a different shape, and of course that is what the antibodies are directed against," Collins said on CNN. "So the question is, will the antibodies generated by the vaccines that we've all had or should have had enable us to be protected against this virus. "I...
    The name of a newly identified variant of the coronavirus has had some social media users scratching their heads about the World Health Organization’s system for labeling certain versions of the virus. The WHO chose on Friday to dub the variant, first reported to the agency by scientists in South Africa, “omicron” — continuing its use of the Greek alphabet for naming notable variants of the virus. Social media users correctly noted, however, that the organization skipped two letters in doing so, leading to questions about the move. Here’s what we know about how omicron ended up with its name. CLAIM: The World Health Organization has labeled the new strain the “omicron” variant, skipping over “nu” and “xi” without explanation. THE FACTS: The WHO on Friday gave the name “omicron” to a new variant of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19. The agency also deemed it a “ variant of concern.” Omicron was first reported to the U.N. health agency by scientists in South Africa and has been identified in several other countries as well, The Associated Press has reported. The...
    If Fox & Friends is to be taken seriously, then South Africa, the World Health Organization, the Democratic Party, and the Biden administration are all part of a massive conspiracy to keep America locked down forever by routinely introducing new variants of the coronavirus. Rachel Campos-Duffy, Pete Hegseth, and Will Cain helmed Fox & Friends on Saturday as they lamented that “We are toying around with the potential idea of lockdowns again.” This was part of a broader segment about how the spread of the Omicron Covid variant is prompting international travel bans from the Biden administration and new concerns about infection rates from the WHO. The variant is also sparking new conversations about lockdowns that were prevalent at the start of the pandemic, and Fox & Friends managed to tie this to the recurring question of whether Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg “is potentially our new president in 2024, or so the Democrats want.” “[He] has said we can’t fix the supply chain problem until the pandemic is over, until Covid is over,” said Campos-Duffy. “And now we see these new...
    (CNN)The emergence of the newly identified Omicron coronavirus variant feels like a pandemic gut check.Scientists have long known that the world would see emerging coronavirus variants. Viruses mutate constantly.But when South Africa's health minister announced Thursday the discovery of the B.1.1.529 variant, which appears to be spreading rapidly in parts of the country, it was the strongest reminder yet that the pandemic is not over. Newly discovered Covid-19 variant B.1.1.529 is red flag but US needs to learn more, Fauci saysIn the hours following that Thursday announcement, several nations -- including the United States and the United Kingdom -- banned travel from South Africa and surrounding African countries.The new travel restrictions announced by President Joe Biden on Friday will buy the US federal government more time to investigate the new Omicron variant that has emerged in South Africa, officials say. But not much.Read MoreInside the government, it is seen as inevitable that the new variant will appear in the US at some point, but the new restrictions should give federal health agencies and their global counterparts more time to learn...
    'The only way to really beat COVID is for all of us collectively to work together for the greater good.' Cadell Walker rushed to get her 9-year-old daughter Solome vaccinated against COVID-19 — not just to protect her but to help stop the coronavirus from spreading and spawning even more dangerous variants. "Love thy neighbor is something that we really do believe, and we want to be good community members and want to model that thinking for our daughter," said the 40-year-old Louisville mom, who recently took Solome to a local middle school for her shot. "The only way to really beat COVID is for all of us collectively to work together for the greater good." Scientists agree. Each infection — whether in an adult in Yemen or a kid in Kentucky — gives the virus another opportunity to mutate. Protecting a new, large chunk of the population anywhere in the world limits those opportunities. That effort got a lift with 28 million U.S. kids 5 to 11 years old now...
    Prof. Wolfgang Preiser, Stellenbosch University; Cathrine Scheepers, University of the Witwatersrand; Jinal Bhiman, National Institute for Communicable Diseases; Marietjie Venter, University of Pretoria, and Tulio de Oliveira, University of KwaZulu-Natal Since early in the COVID pandemic, the Network for Genomics Surveillance in South Africa has been monitoring changes in SARS-CoV-2. This was a valuable tool to understand better how the virus spread. In late 2020, the network detected a new virus lineage, 501Y.V2, which later became known as the beta variant. Now a new SARS-CoV-2 variant has been identified – B.1.1.529. The World Health Organisation has declared it a variant of concern, and assigned it the name Omicron. To help us understand more, The Conversation Africa’s Ozayr Patel asked scientists to share what they know. What’s the science behind the search?Hunting for variants requires a concerted effort. South Africa and the UK were the first big countries to implement nationwide genomic surveillance efforts for SARS-CoV-2 as early as April 2020. Variant hunting, as exciting as that sounds, is performed through whole genome sequencing of samples that have tested positive...
    BRUSSELS (AP) — Nearly two years into the COVID-19 pandemic, the world is racing to contain a new coronavirus variant potentially more dangerous than the one that has fueled relentless waves of infection on nearly every continent. A World Health Organization panel named the variant “omicron” and classified it as a highly transmissible virus of concern, the same category that includes the predominant delta variant, which is still a scourge driving higher cases of sickness and death in Europe and parts of the United States. “It seems to spread rapidly,” U.S. President Joe Biden said Friday of the new variant, only a day after celebrating the resumption of Thanksgiving gatherings for millions of American families and the sense that normal life was coming back at least for the vaccinated. In announcing new travel restrictions, he told reporters, “I’ve decided that we’re going to be cautious.” Omicron’s actual risks are not understood. But early evidence suggests it carries an increased risk of reinfection compared with other highly transmissible variants, the WHO said. That means people who contracted COVID-19 and recovered could...
    (CBS4) — Health professionals around the world have growing concerns about the new COVID-19 variant, now being identified as the Omicron strain, because they say it might be more transmissible than other variants. (credit: CBS) READ MORE: Fraudsters Still Potentially Impacting 1,050 Innocent Unemployment Claims In Colorado“It is something that has emerged in South Africa and is spreading at a reasonably rapid rate,” said Dr. Anthony Fauci on Friday to CNN. The Omicron variant, which was detected in early November, has not been found in Colorado yet, or even the United States. “This variant has a large number of mutations and the concern is when you have so many mutations it can have an impact on how the virus behaves,” said Maria Van Kerkhove with the World Health Organization. On Friday, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment told CBS4 its laboratory and other private laboratories are continuing to conduct genetic sequencing on human samples that are positive for COCID-19– to track the different variants entering our state. Colorado family clinic Dr. Hector Frisbie said new variants of...
    Pediatric doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine sit on a table at National Jewish Health on Nov. 3, 2021 in Denver, Colorado.Michael Ciaglo | Getty Images News There are no U.S. cases of the new omicron Covid variant, the CDC said late Friday, referring to a heavily mutated strain of the virus that has been classified as a "variant of concern" by the World Health Organization. "No cases of this variant have been identified in the U.S. to date," according to the statement by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "CDC is continuously monitoring variants and the U.S. variant surveillance system has reliably detected new variants in this country. We expect Omicron to be identified quickly, if it emerges in the U.S.," it said. The newly identified strain — referred to as lineage B.1.1.529 — was first detected in South Africa and raised concerns due to the rapid rise in the number of coronavirus cases in the country's Gauteng province. The UN health agency only designates Covid strains as variants of concern when they're more transmissible, more virulent or more...
    Photo by THOMAS KIENZLE/AFP via Getty Images. As concerns over a new coronavirus variant sent the stock market into a downward spiral Friday, its worst day of 2021 so far, Pfizer and partner Biotech offered a potential sigh of relief, saying that “in the event that a vaccine-escape variant emerges” they can have a new vaccine ready in 100 days. “We expect more data from the laboratory tests in two weeks at the latest. These data will provide more information about whether B.1.1.529 could be an escape variant that may require an adjustment of our vaccine if the variant spreads globally,” Pfizer said in a statement Friday. The B.1.1.529 coronavirus variant, first discovered in South Africa and dubbed Omicron by the World Health Organization resulted in various travel restrictions, including the U.S. banning all flights from South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Lesotho, Eswatini, Mozambique and Malawi. Omicron has world health officials concerned as initial data shows the variant contains more mutations to the spike protein. These mutations may mean Omicron can be resistant to the current vaccines, which have allowed...
    By RAF CASERT and CALVIN WOODWARD BRUSSELS (AP) — Nearly two years into the COVID-19 pandemic, the world raced Friday to contain a new coronavirus variant potentially more dangerous than the one that has fueled relentless waves of infection on every continent. A World Health Organization panel named the variant “omicron” and classified it as a highly transmissible virus of concern, the same category that includes the predominant delta variant, which is still a scourge driving higher cases of sickness and death in Europe and parts of the United States. “It seems to spread rapidly,” President Joe Biden said of the new variant, only a day after celebrating the resumption of Thanksgiving gatherings for millions of American families and the sense that normal life was coming back at least for the vaccinated. In announcing new travel restrictions, he told reporters, “I’ve decided that we’re going to be cautious.” Omicron’s actual risks are not understood. But early evidence suggests an increased risk of reinfection compared with other highly transmissible variants, the WHO said. That means people who contracted COVID-19 and recovered...
    SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF/AP/CNN) — The World Health Organization issued a warning Friday of a new COVID variant named ‘Omicron’ that has been identified in South Africa and other counties. News of the new variant helped fueled a sell-off on Wall Street as stocks tumbled 905 points — the worst day for the Dow in over a year. READ MORE: Black Friday Opening Hours Rush Of Customers Only A Memory This YearThe S&P 500 had its worst day since February, closing down 2.3%. For the Nasdaq Composite it was the worst day since September. The index finished down 2.2%. It was a shortened trading session that ended at 1pm ET after the markets were closed Thursday for Thanksgiving. Traditionally, this half-day session is lower in trading volume, which can exacerbate the swings in the market. “The pandemic and COVID variants remain one of the biggest risks to markets, and are likely to continue to inject volatility over the next year” or even beyond, said Keith Lerner, co-chief investment officer and chief market strategist at Truist Advisory Services, in a note...
    By MARIA CHENG LONDON (AP) — South African scientists identified a new version of the coronavirus this week that they say is behind a recent spike in COVID-19 infections in Gauteng, the country’s most populous province. It’s unclear where the new variant actually arose, but it was first detected by scientists in South Africa and has now been seen in travelers to Belgium, Botswana, Hong Kong and Israel. Health Minister Joe Phaahla said the variant was linked to an “exponential rise” of cases in the last few days, although experts are still trying to determine if the new variant, named B.1.1.529, is actually responsible. From just over 200 new confirmed cases per day in recent weeks, South Africa saw the number of new daily cases rocket to 2,465 on Thursday. Struggling to explain the sudden rise in cases, scientists studied virus samples from the outbreak and discovered the new variant. On Friday, the World Health Organization was convening a group of experts to assess the data from South Africa. WHY ARE SCIENTISTS WORRIED ABOUT THIS NEW VARIANT? It appears to have...
    Employees at Afrigen manufacturing vaccine in Cape Town, on October 05, 2021 Two new variants of COVID-19 which appear to have emerged in Southern Africa are raising extremely serious concerns around the world. The variants—known as C.1.2 and B.1.1.529—appear to have a worrisome combination of changes, including changes that could make them highly evasive of antibodies from both vaccines and previous infections. Of particular concern: these variants appear to be more contagious than the already highly infectious delta, with the B.1.1.529 variant in particular going from a small cluster of cases, to local dominance, almost overnight. The B.1.1.529 variant, which could gain the label “nu” following a World Health Organization meeting on Friday, is raising concerns great enough that both Israel and the U.K. have moved quickly to ban travel to and from the region where this variant has been identified. First identified in Botswana, the variant was initially tagged as a “very small cluster” (4 cases in Botswana, 77 in South Africa, and 1 case in Hong Kong). However, as virologist Tom Peacock of Imperial College quickly noted, the number...
    The detection of a new, heavily mutated, and potentially vaccine-resistant coronavirus variant in Botswana and other nations is sending shockwaves worldwide as public health officials rush to understand the strain and its possible impact on the global pandemic response. For vaccine equity campaigners and epidemiologists, the emergence of another highly contagious coronavirus mutation is far from surprising given the massive inoculation gap between rich and poor countries, which has left billions of people across the globe without access to lifesaving shots—and kept the door open to variants. Botswana, where the new strain was first identified earlier this month, has fully vaccinated just 20% of its population. Tim Bierley of the U.K.-based advocacy group Global Justice Now said in a statement that the B.1.1.529 mutation is an "entirely avoidable" consequence of deliberate policy decisions by rich countries, which have hoarded vaccine doses and refused to force pharmaceutical giants to share technology with developing nations. "The U.K. has actively prevented low and middle-income countries from having equitable access to Covid-19 vaccines. We have...
    NEW YORK -- Stocks fell sharply Friday as a new highly transmissible coronavirus variant from South Africa seemed to be spreading across the globe, threatening months of progress at getting the pandemic under control.Health officials in Europe moved quickly to propose suspending air travel from southern Africa. Meanwhile cases of the variant were found in Hong Kong, Belgium and Tel Aviv as well as major South African cities like Johannesburg.The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped more than 900 points in the first 20 minutes of trading to trade at 34,917. The S&P 500 index was down 1.7%, on pace for its worst day since late September. The Nasdaq Composite was down 1.1%.There have been other variants of the coronavirus before - the delta variant devastated much of the US throughout the summer - but early data on this variant appears to show it's more easily transmissible than other variants.The economic impacts are already being felt. Flights between South Africa and Europe were being subject to quarantine or being shut down altogether. Airline stocks were quickly sold off, with Delta Air...
    A NEW Covid variant with dozens of mutations that could escape vaccines has been found in three countries. While case numbers are currently small, virologists have spotted the strain has 32 mutations. 2The new variant has been found in three countries so far, none in the UKCredit: NNP It appears to be an offshoot of an older variant called B.1.1, and has been found in South Africa, Botswana and Hong Kong. Alpha, which forced the UK back into lockdown just before Christmas last year had a lineage which included B.1.17. Only ten cases of the new variant have been found so far, but experts say there could be more that haven't yet been identified. The infection in Hong Kong was from a person travelling from South Africa - sparking fears it could be taken elsewhere. Dr Tom Peacock, a virologist at Imperial College, tweeted about the find - saying it was the first time he had seen two particular mutations in one variant. The expert described the mutation profile of the coronavirus as "really awful". Most read in Health NewsCOLD...
    Paolo Gentiloni, European commissioner for the economy, speaking at Forum The European House - Ambrosetti in September, 2020.Michael Green | CNBC BRUSSELS — New variants of the coronavirus could still derail the growth rebound seen in Europe, according to the EU's economics chief, as the region deals with another surge in infections. Paolo Gentiloni, the EU's commissioner for economics and taxation, said that it's "too soon to declare victory" over the pandemic, despite lofty GDP projections for this year. "It's still the pandemic," Gentiloni replied when asked about the top risk to the EU economy. "We should be very cautious on possible new variants and we need to strengthen vaccination." He said that new restrictions were possible. "They will not have the same impact, the same economic impact than previous ones ... our economy is more acquainted to these kind of situations," he added. Last week, the European Commission, the executive arm of the EU, projected a GDP rise of 5% for both the EU and the euro area this year. The institution highlighted that "despite mounting headwinds," the bloc is...
    NEW vaccines could tackle all respiratory viruses including Covid-19 variants and common colds, experts have claimed. Researchers have said that a new combination could mean that these viruses could be eliminated at the start - helping to stop a rapid spread as we have seen with Delta and Beta Covid variants. 1Experts say that new vaccines could help stop Covid, colds and other viruses in their tracksCredit: AFP As part of the study, published in Nature, they found that past exposure to other coronaviruses may speed up the clearance of Covid-19. In order to prevent viruses spreading amongst the population, experts say future vaccines should aim to induce an immune response against specific proteins that are essential for the earliest stages of the viral cycle. Jabs that activate immune memory cells, known as T cells could help eliminate viruses at the start as they would attack infected cells from the offset. This development could complement Covid-19 vaccines currently being rolled out across the UK....
    The decision to bring employees back to worksites is being driven by local COVID-19 infection rates, schools and child care, and employee health concerns, according to a new survey of regional businesses. The survey, “Capital COVID-19 Snapshot: Safe Return to Worksites,” is the third such study conducted by the Greater Washington Partnership to gauge how local businesses are responding to the pandemic. “When we asked last year what the biggest drivers for organizations’ decisions regarding reopening were, the top answer was whether or not a there would be a vaccine available. Obviously, of course, today, we have multiple vaccine options available,” said John Hillegass of the Greater Washington Partnership, a consortium of some the area’s largest employers. This latest survey found that over half of local businesses expect their employees to continue teleworking at about the same frequency over the next 12 months. It also found that on average, respondents expect 68% of employees to be back working on site by summer 2022. When the Partnership conducted its last survey in December 2020, employers expected a higher number of workers...
    A NEW 'more contagious' coronavirus subvariant of Delta is now under investigation by experts after a rise in cases. Over 15,000 cases of the AY.4.2 variant have been detected as of October 20, the UK's Health Security Agency said. 1Experts have urged people to continue to wear masks and to come forward for their vaccines to protect them from the subvariantCredit: Reuters The new official name for the subvariant is VUI-21OCT-01 and experts have said the decision to place it under investigation was due to the fact that it has become 'increasingly common' in the UK. Dr Jenny Harries, Chief Executive of the UK Health Security Agency said that it's normal for viruses to mutate. She explained: "It is not unexpected that new variants will continue to arise as the pandemic goes on, particularly while the case rate remains high. "It is testament to the diligence and scientific expertise of my colleagues at the UKHSA, and the genomic sequencing capacity developed through the pandemic, that this new variant has been identified and analysed so quickly. "However, it should serve...
    As the nation rebounds from a surge of the delta variant, questions swirl over future and new coronavirus variants and the effectiveness of vaccines against them. As long as the virus that caused the COVID-19 pandemic continues to infect people, new variants will continue to emerge.  FRONT-LINE HEALTH CARE WORKER SHORTAGE DUE TO COVID-19 VACCINE MANDATES, BURNOUT However, that does not mean that variants will occur with the same frequency or become more hazardous. Last week, the U.K. Health Security Agency said that a delta descendant called AY.4.2 was "expanding" and "increasing in frequency" in England.  In a statement to Business Insider, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) said Wednesday that the variant is still very rare, at "well below 0.05%" of all sequenced viruses, with less than 10 reported in the agency's database thus far.  A woman wearing a mask passes by a coronavirus disease mobile testing van in Washington Square Park in New York City, U.S., July 22, 2021. (REUTERS/Brendan McDermid/File Photo) "At this time … there is no evidence that the sub-lineage A.Y.4.2 impacts the...
    WASHINGTON (AP) — Can new variants of the coronavirus keep emerging? Yes, as long as the virus that caused the pandemic keeps infecting people. But that doesn’t mean new variants will keep emerging as regularly, or that they’ll be more dangerous. With more than half the world still not vaccinated, the virus will likely keep finding people to infect and replicating inside them for several months or years to come. And each time a virus makes a copy of itself, a small mutation could occur. Those changes could help the virus survive, becoming new variants. But that doesn’t mean the virus will keep evolving in the same way since it emerged in late 2019. When a virus infects a new species, it needs to adapt to the new host to spread more widely, says Andrew Read, a virus expert at Pennsylvania State University. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the delta variant is twice as contagious as earlier versions of the virus. And while it could still mutate to become more infectious, it probably won’t double its...
    THE new surge in Covid cases are setting the stage for "super variants" to emerge, an expert has warned today. Professor Ravi Gupta told Good Morning Britain restrictions should be brought back in to stop the spread of the killer virus. 1Experts have warned we could be in for a rough winter with restrictions neededCredit: Iam Burn/News Images He said: "I think the worrying thing, or the looming spectre really, is that the virus is getting more opportunities to mutate, its infecting more people, there is a risk of new super variants arising. "Those viruses may be the viruses we have to deal with later this year or next year. And the probability of this is increasing." "Restrictions that are light touch would be a very sensible thing to engage in right now." He revealed he doesn't think the booster programme was brought in early enough, and hasn't gone fast enough. The expert added: "I don’t think the booster programme is going to make a huge difference from where we stand at the moment as we go further into winter. "As a...
    Pfizer says it will vaccinate everyone in one Brazilian city to study the effectiveness of its COVID-19 shot in a 'real-world setting.' All residents aged 12 and older in Toledo - in the southwestern part of the country near the border with Paraguay - will be fully vaccinated with the jab. The study, which will be conducted by Brazil's National Vaccination Program, local health authorities, a hospital and a university, will follow residents for one year and study the safety of the vaccine, how long protection lasts and if it's effective against new variants. About 98 percent of the 143,000 people who live in Toledo have received at least one shot, mainly of the Pfizer vaccine.    Pfizer says it is planning to fully vaccinate everyone over age 12 against COVID-19 in Toledo, a city in southwest Brazil. Pictured: Carlos Eduardo de Carvalho, 14, receives the Pfizer Covid in Rio de Janeiro, September 2021 Researchers will examine the safety of the Pfizer vaccine, how long protection lasts and if it's effective against new variants. Pictured: Municipality of Toledo, date unknown  'Here we believe in...
    CHICAGO — The worst of the coronavirus pandemic could be over, according to a new report. Modelers tracking and projecting the arc of the pandemic said the Delta surge appears to be peaking nationally, which means a slow decline in cases and deaths is expected — so long as there’s not a winter surge, according to NPR. “Any of us who have been following this closely, given what happened with delta, are going to be really cautious about too much optimism,” Justin Lessler, who helps run the COVID-19 Scenario Modeling Hub, told NPR. “But I do think that the trajectory is towards improvement for most of the country.” The team of modelers said the most likely scenario — which relies on kids getting vaccinated and no “super-spreading” variant emerging — forecasts infections will drop slowly from about 140,000 per day now to about 9,000 per day by March, according to NPR. At the same time, deaths from COVID-19 would fall from about 1,500 per day now to fewer than 100 per day by March. The models are not certainties, though....
    Israel is set to begin preparations to administer fourth doses of the coronavirus vaccines as the country deals with soaring cases despite its trail-blazing roll-out of jabs.  The country's national coronavirus czar Salman Zarka said the country needs to prepare for a fourth injection, which could be modified to better protect against new variants of the virus.      'Given that that the virus is here and will continue to be here, we also need to prepare for a fourth injection,' he told Kan public radio.  'This is our life from now on, in waves.' Salman Zarka (pictured) said the country needs to prepare for a fourth injection, which could be modified to better protect against new variants of the virus RELATED ARTICLES Previous 1 Next Nearly FIFTY shops are shutting every day: More than 8,700... Top government scientists urge ministers to ignore vaccine... Share this article Share Last month, he told The Times of Israel that people should expect to receive more vaccines to deal with new variants.     'It seems that if...
    A new coronavirus variant that’s showing the potential to evade immunity is now being closely monitored by the World Health Organization and officials in the United States. The mu variant — named after the Greek letter, following convention — was first documented in Colombia and has “a constellation of mutations that indicate potential properties of immune escape,” according to a World Health Organization report published earlier this week. The mutant was added to the WHO list of “variants of interest” on Monday. Variants of interest are those with genetic changes that could impact characteristics such as transmissibility or disease severity and cause significant community spread. A variant of interest isn’t quite as bad as a “variant of concern” — such as the delta variant — which is defined as a mutant that causes increased spread and severity, or decreased effectiveness of public health measures such as vaccines or social distancing. There have been a few “sporadic” reports of mu variant cases and outbreaks in South America and Europe, according to the WHO report. Overall, mu variant cases make up 0.1%...
    A NEW Covid variant is gaining attention after being flagged by the World Health Organization. Mu is only the fifth coronavirus strain to be labelled a “variant of interest” by the World Health Organisation (WHO), with another four "variants of concern". 3Mu is another variation of the coronavirusCredit: Reuters To get this label, it means Mu threatens to spread faster, cause more severe disease, or avoid immunity. It also means it has a growing prevalence worldwide and may become an emerging risk. What is the Mu variant? Mu scientifically called B.1.621, given the name “Mu” to fit with the WHO’s Greek alphabet labelling system of variants. Dr Paúl Cárdenas, a specialist in infectious diseases, told BBC Science Focus: “I am glad [Mu] was finally assigned as variant of interest by WHO. “This variant was first reported on Colombia in January and we found it in May in Ecuador.  “It caught our attention as it has several mutations similar to Beta, and some with Iota, Delta, Alpha and Eta.” Other variants such as Delta and Alpha are more transmissible than the...
    Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, listens during a news conference in the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Tuesday, April 13, 2021.Leigh Vogel | Bloomberg | Getty Images The new Covid-19 variant "mu" is not an immediate threat to the United States, federal health officials said Thursday. "We're paying attention to it, we take everything like that seriously, but we don't consider it an immediate threat right now," White House chief medical advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci said at a press briefing. Mu — also known by scientists as B.1.621 — was added to the WHO's list of variants "of interest" on Monday, the international health organization said in its weekly Covid epidemiological report published late Tuesday. "This variant has a constellation of mutations that suggests that it would evade certain antibodies, not only monoclonal antibodies, but vaccine and convalescent serum induced antibodies," Fauci said. "But there isn't a lot of clinical data to suggest that, it is mostly laboratory in-vitro data." Even though Covid-19 vaccines were...
    A new variant of COVID-19 might be more transmissible, and it may evade some protection from vaccines, according to a new study. Business Standard reported that researchers in South Africa said the variant was discovered in May.  Since then, the variant, C.1.2, has been reported in China, New Zealand, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and several other countries, the news outlet reported. The researchers reportedly found that the new variant has a mutation rate about twice as fast as that of other COVID-19 variants, and it could evade the antibodies people have developed for the Alpha and Beta variants.  The study was posted on Tuesday, Aug. 24, and it has not been peer-reviewed yet. Learn more about the study here.
    A NEW Covid variant called “Mu” is worrying world leaders. Early research says the strain is as resistant to vaccines as the Beta variant, from South Africa, but more research is needed. 1The coronavirus will always mutateCredit: Alamy Mu is only the fifth coronavirus strain to be labelled a “variant of interest” by the World Health Organisation (WHO), with another four "variants of concern". It is scientifically called B.1.621, given the name “Mu” to fit with the WHO’s Greek alphabet labelling system of variants. Mu was first identified in Colombia in January and has now spread to 39 countries. Infections have been recorded in South America and Europe. Mu has been detected in England 55 times so far, but nowhere else in the UK, and is prevalent in the US. The WHO said: "Although the global prevalence of the Mu variant among sequenced cases has declined and is currently below 0.1 per cent, the prevalence in Colombia (39 per cent) and Ecuador (13 per cent) has consistently increased. "Since its first identification in Colombia in January 2021, there have...
    A NEW coronavirus variant has been detected which could be as infectious as the Delta strain, experts have claimed. The C.1.2 variant is already in the UK and was first spotted in South Africa, but what do we know about the strain and will vaccines protect us? 1A new coronavirus mutation has been detected - and experts have warned that it has similar properties to that seen in the Delta strainCredit: Getty - Contributor The strain was first identified by scientists in South Africa in May. It has since been found in England, China, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Mauritius, New Zealand, Portugal and Switzerland. In a report, published in the journal Nature, experts explained that the strain emerged at the start of the first wave in South Africa and then spread to other locations. The experts added: "We show that this lineage has rapidly expanded and become dominant in three provinces, at the same time as there has been a rapid resurgence in infections.  "Although the full import of the mutations is not yet clear, the genomic and epidemiological data...
    By Maggie Fox | CNN Genetics researchers who have been watching for new coronavirus variants say they’ve seen a troubling new lineage that carries many of the same hallmarks as other strains, including Alpha, Beta and Gamma. The variant they are watching, called C.1.2, has popped up across South Africa as well as in seven other countries in Africa, Asia and the Pacific, the researchers report. They’re not sure whether its constellation of mutations will make it more dangerous, but it carries changes that have given other variants increased transmissibility and the ability to evade the immune system’s response to some degree. Having more mutations does not necessarily equal more danger — some mutations can weaken a virus and it’s the combination of changes that affects whether a virus becomes more efficient. One extra mutation could cancel out the effects of another. But the team — which includes virologist Penny Moore of South Africa’s National Institute for Communicable Diseases — say they are keeping an eye on it. “We are currently assessing the impact of this variant on antibody neutralization...
    (CNN)Genetics researchers who have been watching for new coronavirus variants say they've seen a troubling new lineage that carries many of the same hallmarks as other strains, including Alpha, Beta and Gamma.The variant they are watching, called C.1.2, has popped up across South Africa as well as in seven other countries in Africa, Asia and the Pacific, the researchers report. They're not sure whether its constellation of mutations will make it more dangerous, but it carries changes that have given other variants increased transmissibility and the ability to evade the immune system's response to some degree.Having more mutations does not necessarily equal more danger -- some mutations can weaken a virus and it's the combination of changes that affects whether a virus becomes more efficient. One extra mutation could cancel out the effects of another.But the team -- which includes virologist Penny Moore of South Africa's National Institute for Communicable Diseases -- say they are keeping an eye on it."We are currently assessing the impact of this variant on antibody neutralization following SARS-CoV-2 infection or vaccination against SARS-CoV-2 in South...
    Waning immunity and ferocious contagion are known to be fueling the troubling surge in “breakthrough” COVID-19 cases among vaccinated people. But new UC San Francisco analysis of 1,373 Bay Area cases reveals a third, and more ominous, problem: The coronavirus is learning to outsmart our immune system. Variants with antibody-resistant mutations are playing an ever-larger role in our highly vaccinated region’s pandemic, according to research by prominent virologist Dr. Charles Chiu. His team found that 78% of infections in fully vaccinated people among the study were caused by variants with these mutations, compared to 48% of the cases among unvaccinated people, who remained an easier target for earlier generations of the virus. Overall, the proportion of cases linked to these variants more than doubled between February and June. The findings add to a growing list of studies that are unraveling why the vaccinated are still so susceptible to infection — and provide a deeper understanding of what we may encounter in the future. Vaccinated people are still much more protected from serious illness, hospitalization, and death than unvaccinated people, the study confirmed. “But...
    It’s a soulless, mindless quasi-life form that drains the vitality of the living, leaving nothing but tribulation and death in its wake, and it really wants to be president. Of course, Ron DeSantis’ frothy-mouthed political ambitions may help explain why Florida is essentially a leper colony with a Pirates of the Caribbean ride right now. DeSantis has made a name for himself by striving to be the most MAGA-ty governor in the nation, and he can’t back down now—not after fooling Politico into thinking he “won” the pandemic. (Narrator: He didn’t.) DeSantis—who never met a pro-COVID policy he didn’t like—is now presiding over one of the worst coronavirus outbreaks in the land. In the name of “freedom,” DeSantis has banned vaccine passports; fought with cruise lines that want to keep their customers safe from, well, death; and most recently has threatened to withhold funds from Florida schools that institute mask mandates. If this were Star Trek, I’d assume COVID-19 had hijacked and reprogrammed his brain, but alas, this is just garden-variety Earthling dumbfuckery—no further explanation needed. COVID-19 is raging throughout the American South right...
    MOUNTAIN VIEW (KPIX) — As the Delta variant of the coronavirus fuels an ongoing COVID wave, Bay Area health experts are keeping a close eye on yet another variant: Delta Plus. “We believe that it’s at least as bad as Delta,” said Dr. Peter Chin-Hong, an infectious disease specialist at the University of California San Francisco. READ MORE: UCSF Expert: Right Now, Delta Is The Game In Town; Cases, Hospitalizations Will Continue To Grow “We don’t know if it’s even worse than Delta yet. When I say worse we think about number one: is it more transmissible? Number two, does it evade vaccines? And, number three, does it make you sicker?” The Santa Clara County Public Health Department has detected 46 cases of the Delta Plus mutation, according to their latest statistics. It is not the dominant strain in the area, however. Santa Clara County provided KPIX with the following statement: “The County of Santa Clara is currently tracking the Delta variant, and the “Delta plus” variants on our dashboard. Cases of Delta-plus exist statewide and nationwide and there is...
    More than 60 cases of the new Delta-plus variant have been detected in the San Francisco-Bay area as coronavirus cases continue to rise throughout the country. According to the Santa Clara Public Health Department, there were 64 reported cases of the new COVID strain detected in the county as of August 5. The new strain, an off-shoot of the highly-transmissible Delta variant, is thought to be more contagious than its predecessor, but is still not the most common variant in the area - with more than 700 cases of the alpha variant reported. 'The County of Santa Clara is currently tracking the Delta variant and the "Delta plus" variants on our dashboard,' county officials told CBS San Francisco, adding 'there is currently not enough information on these particular variants to indicate whether they may be more concerning than the original Delta variant.' 'Having additional variants is going to be expected with any virus,' Yvonne Maldonado, a professor of global health and infectious diseases at Stanford University School of Medicine told the local CBS affiliate. 'The fact there's a Delta plus...
    CAMBRIDGE (CBS) — A new device designed by MIT and Harvard University engineers could help diagnose the spread of new COVID variants. The tabletop diagnostic platform can detect coronavirus in saliva samples in about an hour, and also find viral mutations that are specific to the variants that are circulating the globe. It’s said to be as accurate as a PCR test that use nasal swabs. READ MORE: Is A National Vaccine Mandate Coming? So far it has been able to detect the UK, South African and Brazailian variants, but researchers say it can easily be adapted to diagnosis the Delta variant and others that may be emerging. The technology could make it “much easier to track different variants of the virus, especially in regions that don’t have access to genetic sequencing facilities,” the researchers say. Diagnosing the Delta variant could be as easy as spitting: a new device from the Wyss and @MIT detects SARS-CoV-2 variants in users saliva in about an hour, no lab equipment needed. #COVID19 #Diagnostics #DeltaVariant https://t.co/68RyTBkC1i — Wyss Institute (@wyssinstitute) August 6, 2021 ...
    Scientists have developed a new kind of Covid test which can detect the virus in spit - and tell infected people which variant they caught. Researchers at Harvard University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and several hospitals in Boston developed the home test. The $6 (£4.30) test called Minimally Instrumented SHERLOCK (miSHERLOCK) can distinguish between three types of the virus and takes one hour to provide results. It links to smartphones and can be configured to identify different variants, including the Indian 'Delta' strain.  Developers say it could replace lab-tested PCR tests to provide an accurate result much quicker than having to wait a day or two.  And the fact the tests do not involve an invasive nasal swab could make them more popular.  Scientists have developed a new kind of Covid test that can detect the virus in people's spit. Pictured: The $6 (£4.30) test called Minimally Instrumented SHERLOCK (miSHERLOCK) after a positive result They can spot Covid 96 per cent of the time and correctly identify 95 per cent of uninfected people.  Current genetic sequencing tests - which...
    MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. (KPIX-TV) — As the Delta variant of the coronavirus fuels an ongoing COVID wave, Bay Area health experts are keeping a close eye on yet another variant: Delta Plus. “We believe that it’s at least as bad as Delta,” said Dr. Peter Chin-Hong, an infectious disease specialist at the University of California San Francisco. “We don’t know if it’s even worse than Delta yet. When I say worse we think about number one: is it more transmissible? Number two, does it evade vaccines? And, number three, does it make you sicker?” The Santa Clara County Public Health Department has detected 46 cases of the Delta Plus mutation, according to their latest statistics. It is not the dominant strain in the area, however. Santa Clara County provided KPIX-TV in San Francisco with the following statement: “The County of Santa Clara is currently tracking the Delta variant, and the “Delta plus” variants on our dashboard. Cases of Delta-plus exist statewide and nationwide and there is currently not enough information on these particular variants to indicate whether they may be more...