|Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of NIAID (etoday.co.kr)|
The Omicron variant of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is spreading at an alarming rate. Despite Omicron being the most contagious variant yet, it appears to have relatively milder symptoms. As such, observers say that it could trigger a natural vaccine effect and build herd immunity against the virus. However, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), says that it is too soon to tell whether Omicron will bring an end to the pandemic. During the online conference of World Economic Forum’s Davos Agenda, held on January 17th, Fauci said that “It is an open question as to whether or not Omicron is going to be the live virus vaccination that everyone is hoping for,” and that it “would only be the case if we do not get another variant that eludes the immune response of the prior variant.” Furthermore, Fauci pointed out that although Omicron may be the last variant in the current pandemic, this does not mean that COVID-19 will cease to exist; rather, it will stay as a prevalent found disease in our society, thus, an endemic infection. On the other hand, Stéphane Bancel, the Chief Executive Officer of Moderna Therapeutics, who also took part in the Davos Agenda, disclosed that data for the Omicron-specific shot will be available soon and that he hopes “to be able to have data to share with regulators” in March.
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