Press "Enter" to skip to content

Former FDA Head: Immunity From Omicron Likely ‘Protective Against’ New Variant; ‘Doesn’t Appear To Be’ More Virulent

Last updated on January 31, 2022

On Friday, former FDA Commissioner and current Pfizer board member Dr. Scott Gottlieb appeared on CNBC’s “Squawk Pod” to discuss COVID-19 and the latest variant, a sub-variant of Omicron.

When asked what Americans should know about the latest variant, Gottlieb said that there are three questions. First, “is it more contagious?”

It does appear to be more contagious. It’s spreading in areas where the old Omicron version has become prevalent. So, Sweden put out data in the last 24 hours that shows that it’s increased from 25% of infections to about 45% of infections over three weeks. So, it does appear to be more contagious.

However, when it comes to the question of the variant being “more dangerous,” Gottlieb says that it “doesn’t appear to be the case,” that data out of Sweden and the U.K. seem to show that it isn’t “any more severe,” and it’s “not causing more severe illness than what we’ve seen previously.”

Lastly, regarding how well immunity generated from Omicron would protect against the latest variant, Gottlieb suggested that things look good, given its apparently “similar antigenic profile.”

“Hopefully, if people were infected with the current strain of Omicron, which probably half of the U.S. has or will be infected with this current version of Omicron, that immunity that you’ve acquired is going to be protective against this new variant,” Gottlieb said.

Appearing Sunday on CBS’ “Face The Nation” with Margaret Brennan, Gottlieb made similar remarks.

TRANSCRIPT:

CNBC: What about the latest thinking or data, your opinion on this new variant — tell us what you know. Because I’ve read things. I don’t know what’s true and what’s not. Maybe it’s not any more virulent, or is similar, but what do we know about it, Scott?

GOTTLIEB: Look, there’s some critical questions right now that we don’t have perfect answers to. It does appear to be [more] — so, three questions: it is it more contagious? It does appear to be more contagious. It’s spreading in areas where the old Omicron version has become prevalent. So, Sweden put out data in the last 24 hours that shows that it’s increased from 25% of infections to about 45% of infections over three weeks. So, it does appear to be more contagious. Is it more virulent? Is it more dangerous of a strain? It doesn’t appear to be the case. The data out of Sweden and the U.K. suggests that it’s not any more severe and not causing more severe illness than what we’ve seen previously.

And is the immunity that we’ve acquired from the current version of Omicron going to be protective against this new variant? That does appear to be the case, just based on looking at the the contours of the spike protein in this new variant … it does appear to have a similar antigenic profile. So hopefully, if people were infected with the current strain of Omicron, which probably half of the U.S. has or will be infected with this current version of Omicron, that immunity that you’ve acquired is going to be protective against this new variant. If that’s the case, and it does appear to be the case — although experimentation is still underway to really nail that diagnosis — but if that’s the case, you wouldn’t expect this new variant, really, to take off here in the United States or other countries that have already had their Omicron wave. It could be that if it comes in here and starts to spread at any levels, that you can get a longer tail on the decline in this epidemic, but it’s unlikely that this is going to displace Omicron and create a new wave or infection in the way Delta displaced B.117 or B.117 displace the old Wuhan variant.

The Daily Wire is one of America’s fastest-growing conservative media companies and counter-cultural outlets for news, opinion, and entertainment. Get inside access to The Daily Wire by becoming a member.

Be First to Comment

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published.