ND health department outlines what it knows about COVID-19’s omicron variant

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Although the omicron variant of COVID-19 has not yet been detected in North Dakota, disease experts across the nation are preparing for the new strand of the coronavirus.

This comes a week after the World Health Organization recognized omicron as a variant of concern.

On Wednesday, the North Dakota Department of Health held a virtual press conference highlighting what is known about omicron.

A large concern regarding this variant is the effectiveness of the monoclonal antibody treatment, as this option may not be as effective.

The importance of vaccines was also discussed, as the FDA announced last month that they have approved boosters for all adults 18 and older.

For those who received Pfizer and Moderna, boosters are recommended 6 months after receiving your last dose, while Johnson and Johnson boosters are recommended 2 months after your last dose.

Dr. Kirby Kruger from the Department of Health says vaccines are still the best weapon to fight the virus, as this new variant can be more dangerous than the delta variant.

“What is concerning about this one is the number of mutations on the spike protein, with at least 32 that have been identified. Just as an example, delta, the spike protein for the delta variant, there’s been at least 9 mutations identified there. So it’s been quite an increase in the number of mutations in the spike protein,” said Dr. Kruger.

Omicron has been found in 23 countries, including Canada as well as many European countries.

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