As the global medical community scrambles to figure out how to deal with the latest coronavirus variant, omicron, one infectious disease doctor, has declared that omicron will likely “dominate and overwhelm” the world in six months or less.
“Frankly, omicron will dominate and overwhelm the whole world in three to six months,” Singapore-based doctor Leong Hoe Nam of Mount Elizabeth Novena Hospital told CNBC’s “Street Signs Asia.”
New vaccines targeting Omicron are a “nice idea” but won’t be practical because of the transmissibility of the strain, he said.
Vaccines against the new strain will need to be tested over three to six months to prove that they can provide immunity against the variant, Hoe Nam said.
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“Nice idea, but honestly, it is not practical,” Hoe Nam said of a vaccine that specifically targets Omicron. “We won’t be able to rush out the vaccines in time, and by the time the vaccines come, practically everyone will be infected [with] omicron given this highly infectious and transmissibility.”
“The profile of the mutations strongly suggests that it’s going to have an advantage in transmissibility and that it might evade immune protection that you would get,” U.S. infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci told NBC’s “Meet the Press.”
Hoe Nam said Omicron is “threatening the whole world” with a sudden surge in cases, and healthcare systems could find it a challenge to cope, CNBC reported.
Omicron was first confirmed in South Africa and was designated a variant of concern by the WHO. It has since been reported in several other places, including Hong Kong, the Netherlands, and Portugal. The first U.S. case was confirmed in San Francisco, California, and a second case was just confirmed on Dec. 1 in Minnesota.