Count Dr Anthony Fauci among the health experts who are not yet sure that an omicron-specific jab is needed. And while some vaccine makers are planning redesigned versions, others believe that recalls of the original vaccines might be the best.

Stat: Fauci says Omicron-specific version of Covid-19 vaccines may not be needed

Anthony Fauci is not convinced that manufacturers of Covid-19 vaccines will need to produce an Omicron-specific version of their vaccines. On the contrary, the longtime director of the National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Diseases suggested to STAT in an interview on Thursday, it is possible that the current vaccines provide sufficient protection against the new variant for most vaccinated and boosted individuals. (Branswell, 12/10)

The Wall Street Journal: Covid-19 vaccine makers unsure if fine-tuning the shots for Omicron is worth it

A big obstacle to the development of variant vaccines is what immunologists call “original antigenic sin,” a phenomenon documented in influenza and other infectious diseases, where the body returns to the immune response mounted against its first encounter with an agent. pathogen – or vaccine – when faced with a slightly different variant. Evidence is mounting that this phenomenon, also known as immune fingerprinting, is at work in Covid-19. The implication: Boosting with a vaccine specific to Omicron might only arouse earlier immune responses, whether stimulated by vaccination or infection. In other words, a vaccine specific to Omicron may have no advantage over a simple booster with the original vaccines. (Roland, 12/9)

In other news about the omicron variant –

NPR: Shit sleuths look for early signs of Omicron in sewage

Scientists have detected traces of omicron in wastewater from Houston, Boulder, Colorado, and two cities in northern California. It’s a signal that indicates the variant coronavirus is present in these cities, and it highlights the useful data produced by the wastewater monitoring research as the omicron looms. Collecting this data requires close collaboration between wastewater treatment facilities, engineers, epidemiologists and laboratories. Scientists and public health officials say the data derived from fecal samples can help fill in gaps in other forms of surveillance and help them get a big picture of the coronavirus pandemic, from especially as a new variant emerges. (Maria Dillon, 12/9)

San Francisco Chronicle: Omicron in Oakland: How a Wisconsin Marriage to “Super Responsible” Vaccinated People Led to an Outbreak

Most if not all of the guests wore masks when the November 27 wedding ceremony began at a celebration in Wisconsin that is now the suspected origin of an outbreak of COVID-19 and the omicron variant among staff at the Kaiser Permanente’s Oakland Medical Center, according to a participant. But as the celebration progressed, cocktails came out and people took to the dance floor, many leaving their masks behind, said Debra Furr-Holden, epidemiologist and associate dean of public health at the Michigan State University, who was present and believes she contracted the coronavirus there. (Johnson, 9/9)

AP: Companies rethink plans to return to the office to business Omicron

Businesses of all sizes are rethinking their plans to send workers back to the office, as the new omicron variant adds another layer of uncertainty. Alphabet’s Google and the nation’s second-largest automaker Ford Co. are among those further delaying plans to return to the office, while other companies whose employees have already returned consider adding additional precautions such as require masks. Officials in the UK, Denmark, Norway and Sweden have also in recent days asked people to work from home if they can over concerns about the variant. (D’Innocenzio, 10/12)

The Atlantic: Omicron will change the risk landscape for people vaccinated

Here’s the result: Every fully vaccinated person could still be at minimal risk of becoming seriously ill or dying from COVID this winter, but the remnants of normalcy around them could start to warp or even break. In the worst case, highly vaccinated areas could also see “the kind of overwhelmed hospital systems that we saw in 2020 with the first phase in Boston and New York”, Samuel Scarpino, network scientist at Pandemic Prevention. the Rockefeller Foundation. Institute, told me. While only a small percentage of Omicron infections result in hospitalization, the variant still spreads with such ferocity that millions of people may need a bed. (Gutman, 9/12)

CNBC: Bill Gates: How the Covid Pandemic Ends and Becomes Endemic with Omicron

By the end of next year, the Covid pandemic could be over. But that doesn’t mean the coronavirus will go away. In a blog post published on Tuesday, Bill Gates laid out a seemingly likely scenario: “At some point next year, Covid-19 will become an endemic disease in most places. “If Covid becomes an endemic disease – a disease of relatively low severity that circulates constantly in parts of the world – the pandemic phase of the disease could end in 2022,” wrote the Microsoft co-founder and billionaire health philanthropist. (Stieg, 12/9)

This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of coverage of health policies by major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.


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