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US confirms nation’s first case of Omicron Covid variant in California


    US well being officers have confirmed the nation’s new case, heavily mutated coronavirus variant referred to as Omicron in California, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention stated Wednesday.

    White House chief medical adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci stated the individual, who was totally vaccinated, had returned from South Africa on November 22 from touring to the San Francisco space and examined optimistic on November 29.

    Giving extra particulars of the matter at a White House press briefing, he introduced, “The person is self-quarantining and all close contacts have been contacted and all close contacts have tested negative so far.” “We love that this patient not only had mild symptoms, but the symptoms actually seem to be improving.”

    The CDC stated the genomic sequencing was initially performed on the University of California, San Francisco and was confirmed by the CDC as an Omicron variant.

    California Gov. Gavin Newsom warned residents in opposition to panic. “But we must be cautious,” he stated on Twitter. “That means get vaccinated. Get boosted. Wear a mask indoors.” Newsom has scheduled a press briefing on the variant at 3 p.m. ET.

    earlier than after south africa Reported the version to the World Health Organization per week in the past, it was present in Canada, UK, israel, Belgium, Netherlands, Germany, Italy and Hong Kong, amongst different locations. World leaders are on excessive alert, involved that the virus is already sweeping the globe.

    The World Health Organization stated on Wednesday that omicrons have been reported in not less than 23 nations.

    Fauci stated over the weekend that the variant would basically come to the US. On Sunday, two instances had been recognized in Ontario, Canada. The variant, initially generally known as B.1.1529, was found out for the first time In the Gauteng province of South Africa, the place Johannesburg is situated.

    Moderna CEO Stefan Bansel warned Monday that Omicron has already unfold throughout the planet. He pointed to the incoming flights Amsterdam to South Africa On Friday during which 61 out of 624 passengers examined optimistic for Covid. Dutch well being officers stated a complete of 14 of them have been contaminated with the Omicron pressure.

    Portuguese well being officers stated on Monday that 13 members and workers of knowledgeable soccer staff in Lisbon had been contaminated with the variant after considered one of its gamers returned from a visit to South Africa.

    “We also believe it already exists in most countries,” Bansel stated. “I believe that countries that have direct flights from South Africa in the last seven to 10 days already have cases in their country that they are not aware of.”

    America travel ban imposed Starting Monday for non-citizens who’ve traveled to South Africa and 7 different surrounding nations previously 14 days. The UK and the European Union have carried out related journey restrictions.

    President Joe Biden said on Monday He is directing the Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to make use of “the fastest process available without cutting any corners” to approve potential vaccines concentrating on Omicron and produce them to market.

    Current COVID vaccines are believed to supply not less than some safety from the closely mutated Omicron pressure, and booster pictures “significantly strengthen that protection,” Biden stated in a speech on the White House.

    Omicron was categorised as a “.type of anxiety“by the World Health Organization on Friday, that means it’s extra infectious, extra virulent or extra environment friendly at evading public well being measures, vaccines and therapeutics. The variant accommodates greater than 30 mutations within the spike protein that enables the virus to enter the physique.” The new strain has a total of about 50 mutations, including 10 for the receptor binding domain alone, the part of the virus that first comes into contact with cells.

    Officials have warned that many of these mutations can lead to increased antibody resistance and transmission efficiency, which could limit the effectiveness of COVID vaccines.

    “The molecular profile of the kind of mutation you see (in Omicron) would recommend that it could be extra transmissible and that it might remove a few of the safety of vaccines,” Fauci said Wednesday. “But we do not know that but.”

    He said that we have to devise that immune protection from vaccines and recovery from COVID can be reduced against omicrons, emphasizing the need for boosters.

    Dr. Angelique Coetzee, President of the South African Medical Association, describes the symptoms associated with Omicrons. “extremely gentle” till now. However, Bansel cautioned that symptoms reported in South Africa may not be good predictors of variant virulence because less than 5% of the population is over 60 and there are far fewer comorbidities than in the US and Europe, where people tend to . old and sick.

    “I feel in the present day, it is actually unattainable to know … I do not imagine what is going on to occur in South Africa within the coming week or two will predict a virus to be a full-blown virus,” Bansel stated. stated.

    drugmakers have Responded immediately to new version, pfizer And biontech They stated they’re testing Omron and might adapt their vaccine if wanted. johnson and johnson stated it was already testing its vaccine in opposition to the variant. Moderna stated it will check three booster candidates in opposition to Omicron, together with the next dose of its unique COVID booster. The firm additionally stated that it’ll develop a booster dose particular to the variant.

    — CNBC’s Robert Tovey and Kevin Brauninger contributed to this report.



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