Omicron in South Africa
December 13, 2021 – When it comes to the spread of the Omicron variant — and understanding it — South Africa is a step ahead of the rest of the world.
Since the detection of the variant in November, coronavirus cases have skyrocketed. On Sunday, the country’s president tested positive for the virus. For an update on South Africa, I spoke to Lynsey Chutel, who covers southern Africa for The Times.
What does the latest science out of South Africa tell us about Omicron?
There have been two big developments in the last few days.
In the last week, thanks to a study by the Africa Health Research Institute in Durban, we now have some sense of how the Pfizer vaccine performs against the Omicron variant. Lab experiments showed that, unfortunately, antibodies produced in people who are vaccinated with the Pfizer vaccine were less effective in preventing the spread of Omicron than other variants. On the plus side, the vaccine still seemed to show some protection against severe illness from Covid-19.