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COVID Variants

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Everyone I know is getting Omicron. Does this mean the vaccines don’t work?

COVID Variants Vaccines

A: No. COVID-19 vaccines are still acing their #1 job- preventing serious disease. TL;DR: Omicron is better at infecting people with immunity from vaccination or prior infection. But the vaccines (especially 3 doses) still *reduce* the risk of infection with Omicron, and *dramatically* reduce the risk of hospitalization and death. Vaccination is still the best Read more…

Why should we get a booster with the existing COVID vaccine when a new one is in the works for Omicron?

COVID Variants Vaccines

A: Boosters with the original Pfizer and Moderna vaccines increase protection against the omicron variant…NOW. A few weeks ago we posted on results from Pfizer showing that: 🔵 A third dose of the original Pfizer vaccine increased neutralizing antibody titers against the omicron variant by 25-fold, compared to levels seen with only two doses 🔵 Read more…

POSTCARDS FROM THE UK: Buckle up America (and everywhere else).

COVID Variants Data and Metrics Infection and Spread

And by buckle up, I mean BOOST-UP. And take other sensible precautions, especially leading up to the holidays. Nerdy Girl Jenn (🇺🇸 in 🇬🇧 ) writing from not-so-sunny England, home of the strangest shaped epidemic curve ever seen (Figure 1). Delta has been raging here since June and never went away. Omicron has a significant Read more…

How does one variant push out another? Why do two variants not take off at the same time in a country?

COVID Variants

TL;DR: Great question! There are new variants emerging all the time. It’s a normal part of viral evolution. They compete by infecting people and making copies of themselves. Because of exponential math, even a small transmission advantage can quickly add up. This all goes back to evolution and math. Here’s how it works. A virus Read more…

Can our current COVID-19 diagnostics, like PCR tests and rapid antigen tests, detect the Omicron variant?

COVID Variants Testing and Contact Tracing

A: Good news. Standard diagnostic PCR tests can pick up the Omicron variant. As far as we know, most rapid antigen tests can also detect Omicron, but tests are ongoing to determine if any specific brands are less sensitive to Omicron. Stay tuned! WHICH VARIANT DO I HAVE? 🦠 Standard diagnostic tests can’t tell you Read more…

I keep hearing all these new terms since the omicron variant came on the scene-can you clarify what all these words mean?

COVID Variants

A: Yes! Here are some explanations of many of the buzzwords flying 🦟 around right now….variant of concern, neutralizing antibodies, immune evasion and more! *Variant*: A variant is a version of the SARS-CoV-2 virus that has changes to its genetic sequence (i.e., mutations). These changes make it distinct from the other versions of the virus Read more…


COVID Variants Vaccines

The trickle of Omicron data is quickly becoming a fountain ⛲. On the heels of yesterday’s Omicron studies, (see summary here) Pfizer today released data showing strong neutralization of Omicron after 3 doses of its vaccine, but a significant reduction for 2 doses. Highlights: ➡️ 2 doses showed significantly reduced neutralization titers against Omicron. ➡️ A Read more…