The World Health Organization (WHO) said on November 28 that it is not yet clear if the new Omicron coronavirus variant is more transmissible compared to other SARS-CoV-2 variants or if it causes more severe disease.
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U.S. President Joe Biden said on November 26 his administration was not considering new vaccine mandates following the discovery of a new COVID-19 variant in South Africa, which led to travel bans from that country and seven other nations.
Novavax Inc. said on November 26 the company had started working on a version of a COVID-19 vaccine to target the variant detected in South Africa and would have the shot ready for testing and manufacturing in the next few weeks.
Moderna Inc. announced updates to the biotechnology company’s strategy to address SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern, given the emergence of the B.1.1.529 (Omicron) variant.
Merck & Co. said on November 26 updated data from the company’s study of the experimental COVID-19 pill molnupiravir showed the drug was significantly less effective in cutting hospitalizations and deaths than previously reported.
The World Health Organization (WHO) on November 26 classified the B.1.1.529 variant detected in South Africa as a SARS-CoV-2 “variant of concern,” saying it may spread more quickly than other forms.
AstraZeneca is examining the impact of a new coronavirus variant that is spreading rapidly in South Africa on the company’s vaccine and antibody cocktail, and is hopeful that the combination drug would retain efficacy.
Top U.S. infectious disease official Dr. Anthony Fauci said on November 26 that a ban on flights from southern Africa was a possibility and the United States was rushing to gather data on the new COVID-19 variant.
Britain said on November 26 that a newly identified coronavirus variant spreading in South Africa was of huge concern, and considered by scientists to be the most significant one yet found as it could make vaccines less effective.
Millions of Americans got COVID-19 booster shots at a near record pace after the Biden administration expanded eligibility last week, but health officials concerned about climbing infections ahead of the winter holiday season urged more to get the additional protection.