Coronavirus Conversations: What researchers have learned about the omicron variant

The World
Pharmacist Kenni Clark injects Robert Champion, of Lawrence, Mass., with a booster dosage of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine during a vaccination clinic at City of Lawrence's "The Center," which serves seniors, families and the community

Pharmacist Kenni Clark injects Robert Champion, of Lawrence, Mass., with a booster dosage of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine during a vaccination clinic at City of Lawrence's "The Center," which serves seniors, families and the community, Dec. 29, 2021.

Charles Krupa/AP/File photo

The World Health Organization’s Regional Director for Europe Dr. Hans Kluge released a statement this week stating, “The pandemic is far from over, but I am hopeful we can end the emergency phase in 2022.” He added that it’s too early for nations to drop their guard, given the number of people who remain unvaccinated around the world. But the highly contagious omicron variant may also leave behind high levels of immunity.

Meanwhile, a new subvariant of omicron, known as BA.2, has been found in around 40 countries, and was flagged as a “variant under investigation,” with more than 10,000 cases  officially reported worldwide.

As part of The World's regular series of conversations about the pandemic, reporter Elana Gordon moderated a discussion with epidemiologist Bill Hanage of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health about what researchers have learned so far about omicron and how that could inform our preparations for the next variant.

See more of the Coronavirus Conversations series here: https://www.theworld.org/categories/coronavirus-conversations.