Author(s): Dave Gilmartin
If the first thing you heard about the omicron variant over the holiday weekend was that it is bad news, the second thing was probably that it is too soon to tell if that’s true.
The sheer number of mutations present in the B.1.1.529 variant is what got the attention of South African researchers, who were the first to discover the newest version of Covid-19.
But virologist Suresh V. Kuchipudi says the extraordinary number of mutations can cut both ways.
“Suppose the combination of all the mutations in omicron makes it either more transmissible or better at immune evasion than delta,” he writes. “In that case, we could see the spread of this variant globally.
“However, it is also possible that the unusually high number of mutations could be detrimental to the virus and make it unstable.”
Kuchipudi says it’s too early to know which scenario, if either, will play out, but you can read his analysis
, based on his research into how covid variants develop in humans and, possibly, animals.