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Fauci “Omicron may evade immune protection… Possible 5th spread in the United States” (Comprehensive)

“It is difficult to eradicate the corona… Omicron will inevitably exist in the US”

Director of the National Institutes of Health says it takes two to three weeks to figure out whether the Omicron vaccine is being avoided.

Anthony Fauci, Director, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID)

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(Washington = Yonhap News) Correspondent Lee Sang-heon = Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), Anthony Fauci, said that Omicron, a new mutation of the novel coronavirus infection (COVID-19), which is showing signs of hitting the world, may evade immune protection. expressed concern.

“The fact that there are more than about 32 mutations in the very important spike protein, the main functional end of this virus, is a headache,” Fauci told NBC on the 28th (local time).

“There’s this mutation in that part of the virus, which we call the receptor binding domain (RBD),” he explains. “It actually binds to cells in the human nasopharynx and lungs.”

“The characteristic of this mutation is that it is highly contagious, for example, it can evade the immune protection obtained from monoclonal antibodies or post-infection convalescent sera,” he said. “It is even possible for some vaccine-induced antibodies.” did.

Viruses use the spike protein to penetrate into the host cell, so if the spike protein is mutated, the propagation power can be changed. This may make it more difficult for the body’s immune system to attack the virus.

National Institutes of Health (NIH) director Francis Collins told Fox News it would take two to three weeks to figure out whether Omicron evades the coronavirus vaccine.

“If you’ve been infected before or have raised antibodies to the coronavirus with a vaccine, the question is whether those antibodies will still attach to this spike protein or will they evade protection,” Collins said.

But he sees the potential for the coronavirus vaccine to work against omicrons as well as it has been effective against previous variants like delta, he said. It will provide an extra layer of protection, even from things you’ve never seen before.”

“If you’re waiting for a booster shot or haven’t been vaccinated yet, Omicron is another reason to get vaccinated,” he said.

National Institutes of Health (NIH) Director Francis Collins
National Institutes of Health (NIH) Director Francis Collins

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“We have a pretty good surveillance system, but it will inevitably be here because it’s already spread in many countries,” Fauci said on ABC.

However, he insisted that travel restrictions in some countries, including the United States, would buy time for Omicron’s response.

“If you have a highly contagious virus, a travel ban doesn’t completely prevent it from coming to the country, but what you can do is delay it long enough so you can be better prepared,” he said. .

“We are trying to find a metric that will tell the public what we need to start living with,” Fauci said.

He said he doesn’t think the coronavirus can be completely eradicated, saying that humanity has only eradicated one infectious disease, smallpox.

“Diseases like malaria, polio and measles have become virtually nonexistent through ‘very very very’ intensive vaccine campaigns,” he added.

While it is currently impossible to completely eradicate the coronavirus, it is argued that active vaccination can effectively eliminate it.

When asked if the U.S. is currently undergoing a fifth pandemic, Fauci said, “It’s definitely going to happen,” he said. He said the community’s immunity levels have declined, including millions of Americans who have not been vaccinated and those whose immunity has started to weaken after the initial vaccination.

honeybee@yna.co.kr

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