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Geisinger expert weighs in on Omicron variant

It's clear that many people are on edge over concerns of the new Omicron variant.

DANVILLE, Pa. — There is still a lot we don't know about the new Omicron variant, and scientists are quickly trying to determine its severity.

"We do know that some mutations will lead to the virus being more easily transmissible." Dr. Stanley Martin said.

Dr. Stanley Martin is Director of Infectious Diseases at Geisinger. He says the Omicron variant of the Coronavirus has a number of mutations to it which have caused some concern.

"Antibodies that are directed at those spike proteins can help block infection and prevent the virus from spreading further," Dr. Martin said.

This is essentially what vaccines do, help make the antibodies to fight the virus. But this week, Moderna's CEO predicted that existing Covid-19 vaccines will be less effective when it comes to the Omicron variant.

"If this spike protein has enough mutations in it that it's a totally different spike protein now, the antibodies may not bind to it as well," Dr. Martin said.

Even so, Dr. Martin says our best course of protection is still vaccinations.

"Although breakthrough infections may happen, if you take two people and one person has been vaccinated, and the other person has not been vaccinated, the person who has been vaccinated is much more likely to recover and do well," Dr. Martin said.

As of now, Omicron has not been detected in the United States. 

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