Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc. said on November 29 the company’s COVID-19 diagnostic tests can accurately detect the new coronavirus variant Omicron that has made several countries shut their borders.

The top U.S. infectious disease official, Dr. Anthony Fauci, told President Joe Biden on November 28 it will take about two weeks to have definitive information on the new coronavirus variant Omicron that has sparked new travel restrictions and shaken financial markets.

The Omicron coronavirus variant spread around the world on November 28, with new cases found in the Netherlands, Denmark and Australia even as more countries imposed travel restriction to try to seal themselves off.

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.

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.

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.