Fauci On Omicron: Potential To ‘Evade Immune Protection’ From ‘Monoclonal’ And ‘Some Of The Vaccine-Induced Antibodies’
Derek Thompson, a personal support worker, is inoculated with the Pfizer/BioNTEch coronavirus disease (Covid-19) vaccine at The Michener Institute, in Toronto, Ontario on December 14, 2020.

On Sunday, Chief Medical Adviser to the President Dr. Anthony Fauci appeared on NBC’s “Meet the Press” to discuss vaccinations and boosters, as well as the latest coronavirus variant, known as Omicron.

Host Chuck Todd asked Fauci why this particular variant, which has been labeled a “Variant of Concern” by the World Health Organization (WHO), is causing concern when others, such as Lambda and Mu, didn’t.

“What makes Omicron so concerning to you?” Todd asked.

“Well, right now, what we have is we have the window into the mutations that are in this new variant,” Fauci replied. “And they are troublesome in the fact that there are about 32 or more variants in that very important spike protein of the virus, which is the business end of the virus. And there’s about ten or more of these mutations that are on that part of the virus, we call it the receptor binding domain, that actually binds to the cells in your nasopharynx and in your lung.”

Fauci continued, noting the possibility that the Omicron variant might have “an advantage in transmissibility,” and that “it might evade immune protection” provided by monoclonal antibodies, convalescent plasma, and “possibly even against some of the vaccine-induced antibodies.”

“So it’s not necessarily that that’s going to happen, but it’s a strong indication that we really need to be prepared for that,” Fauci added.

As to the question about tweaking the booster shots for this particular variant, Fauci stated that testing needs to be done to make that determination, but if changes are needed, they can be implemented relatively swiftly.

So the critical questions now are: Do the antibodies block this well? And what is the seriousness of the disease? So there are enough people right now in South Africa that our South African colleagues are following to determine is this highly transmissible, but doesn’t really give a severe disease, or does it really give the same kind of severity that we’ve seen with Delta and other variants? All of these are gaps in our knowledge that we are all over and going to find them out pretty quickly.

The latest coronavirus variant, B.1.1.529, dubbed Omicron, was designated as a “Variant of Concern” by the World Health Organization on Friday following reports of the virus variant in South Africa.

As The Daily Wire reported, Pfizer/BioNTech, as well as Moderna and other vaccine makers, are looking into the possibility of variant-targeted booster shots.

A BioNTech spokesperson told Fox Business: “In the event that vaccine-escape variant emerges, Pfizer and BioNTech expect to be able to develop and produce a tailor-made vaccine against that variant in approximately 100 days, subject to regulatory approval.”

Related: NY Gov Hochul Declares ‘Disaster Emergency’ As Omicron Coronavirus Variant Takes Focus

Related: Pfizer, Moderna Looking Into ‘Escape Variant’ Vaccines And Boosters As Omicron Sparks Concern

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