I wrote this one for UCHealth Today; it posted a couple of weeks ago. With the Omicron variant, we’re going to have to keep learning. As of this writing, the big question is whether this highly contagious variant (R0 of perhaps 10, so roughly four times more contagious than the D614G variant that initially swept the planet) is less virulent — that is, it makes you less sick and therefore yields fewer hospitalizations for a given number of infections — or much the same as the Delta variant that took over last summer (and is about has virulent as D614G). As we watch striking numbers of vaccinated friends and family members testing positive as we roll into 2022, let’s hope for the former.
Two years may feel like an eternity to a world weary of the coronavirus pandemic. In terms of scientific development, it’s been the blink of an eye, and we’ve learned a lot during that blink.
A century separated Charles Darwin’s “The Origin of Species” and the discovery of DNA’s double helix. Another half century or so passed before gene editing took hold.
Humanity’s ability to fight SARS-CoV-2 has gained enormously from the lessons learned during those and more recent decades. Within about a month of novel coronavirus cases being conclusively identified in December 2019, Chinese scientists had sequenced the coronavirus genome. With that, the global race to find ways to stop the virus’s spread and prevent those infected from getting seriously ill commenced. As the virus mutates and burns through vulnerable populations and the Greek alphabet, that race continues . . . .
[read more at UCHealth Today]