Omicron represents a new kind of epidemic – we must keep up | Emma Thomson

Our research shows how differently the new variant infects and affects us, and underlines the need for an updated response

  • Emma Thomson is a professor in infectious diseases at the MRC Centre for Virus Research, Glasgow

Since Omicron first emerged in late November, teams of scientists in the UK and beyond have been racing to understand it. The results so far suggest that this new variant is producing a very different epidemic – which may mean that our approach to it needs to change too.

Omicron immediately caused concern in the scientific community because it had 50 mutations compared with the original virus, many of which were known to produce significant changes in other variants. These were focused on the spike protein, which sits on the virus particle and acts as the key to allow it to enter human cells.

Emma Thomson is a professor in infectious diseases at the MRC-University of Glasgow Centre for Virus Research

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