Omicron perspectives

From Professor Oren Kobiler, a virologist at TAU’s Sackler Faculty of Medicine:

It is best not to panic over Omicron. We do not need to be hysterical at all. This new variant will not change the entire dynamic of the disease. There are no indications so far that vaccines will not protect against severe illness, and it is unlikely that their efficacy will decrease.

Israel is among countries with the highest rate of the population vaccinated with the COVID-19 booster shot. This gives us an edge for fighting new variants, according to several immunological studies. With the booster, antibodies mature better and more broadly.

The worst-case scenario is that we will face another wave of infection, but that should not lead to more mortality due to current inoculation rates.

From a biological and virological perspective, the Omicron variant is unique. It does need to be examined and researched at the nation level. On an individual level, the best thing to do is get fully vaccinated and wear masks.

Until there is better virus monitoring across the world and until everyone is vaccinated, notably in developing countries, we will keep seeing more variants.