The detection of a new COVID-19 variant, omicron, is poised to put a damper on the holiday season.
Omicron, first detected in South Africa, has already triggered travel bans, and cases are popping up all over the world. Though the United States has no reported cases, next door in Canada, two were detected in Ontario.
With the World Health Organization calling omicron (aka B.1.1.529), a “variant of concern,” the question on everyone’s mind is when can we expect a vaccine to combat it.
The short answer is, in a few months.
Moderna and Pfizer are already at work on it. Plus, all the companies that have made one- or two-dose vaccines are analyzing how well those vaxxes are at combatting omicron.
In the case of public-health crises, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has the option of granting an Emergency Use Authorization, which it did with the initial COVID-19 vaccines. The FDA can grant that after months, instead of years.