OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Oklahoma doctors are watching the new variant of Omicron very closely. The first case in the United States was found in California on Wednesday.
Dr Dale Bratzler, the OU’s COVID-19 director, told News 4 that cause for concern comes from the similarity between the new Omicron variant and the highly contagious Delta variant. In the lab, Omicron is showing mutations similar to those in Delta.
“This virus has mutations that allow it to attach to human receptors easily and potentially make it more contagious, spreading from person to person,” said Dr. .
Another question many people ask: does the vaccine stand a chance against Omicron?
“We still don’t know,” Dr. Bratzler said. “Most vaccine companies are currently doing trials with the gene strain that is causing this particular outbreak, but we don’t know.”
While new variants are constantly being discovered, so are new ways to fight COVID-19. Bratzler said there are two new antiviral drugs on the way to fight the virus.
Merck’s molnupiravir, was recommended yesterday by the FDA advisory panel, by a very thin vote, 13-10, that it recommended that the FDA issue an Emergency Use Authorization for Molnupiravir, as a drug. Antiretroviral therapy must be started within five days of the onset of symptoms of COVID-19. So one person tests positive, they have symptoms, you start taking this pill, this drug for five days, and it reduces hospitalizations and deaths by about 30%…” Dr. Bratzler speak. “This particular COVID-19 treatment would not be recommended in pregnant women or those who are breastfeeding. But the second drug to be submitted to the FDA for approval came from Pfizer. It’s called Paxolivid. You must take it with one of the older HIV medicines called Ritonavir. So you take three pills twice a day for five days, ideally starting within three days of the onset of symptoms, but it is 89% effective at preventing hospitalization and dead “.
Despite new resources being available and vaccination rates increasing, Dr Bratzler said COVID-19 is going nowhere, and that’s partly because animals get infected too – most recently deer tails White.
“You can’t get rid of a disease if there’s an animal vector,” said Dr. Bratzler. “On the way, we may see some transmission of the virus from deer to humans. So that’s something we need to watch very, very carefully. But then again, I don’t think any of us think we’re going to get rid of the virus that causes COVID-19.”
Dr Bratzler told News 4 that one of the ways these new variants are discovered is through breakout cases – people who have been vaccinated but still test positive for COVID-19.
So far, he said, about 50% of Oklahomans are fully vaccinated. For those 12 and older, this number is approaching 60%.
https://kfor.com/news/coronavirus/oklahoma-doctor-weighs-in-on-new-omicron-variant-covid-19-treatment-and-the-state-of-the-pandemic/ Oklahoma doctors weigh in on new Omicron variant, COVID-19 treatment, and pandemic status