During Thanksgiving weekend, America – and the world – learned a new word: Omicron. It is the 15th letter of the Greek alphabet and has a numerical value of 70. In the current context, however, where Greek numbers identify variants of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, omicron has a value of 30 – 30 gene mutations in its spike protein.

The heavily mutated Omicron coronavirus variant is likely to spread internationally and poses a very high risk of infection surges that could have “severe consequences” in some places, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on November 29.

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.

Member states of the World Health Organization reached a tentative consensus to negotiate a future agreement on preventing pandemics, bridging the gap between sides led by the European Union and United States, diplomats said on November 28.

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.

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.

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.