Local virology expert, colleague of Dr. Fauci sheds light on what we’re seeing so far with Omicron

SPOKANE, Wash. — The recently emerging Omicron variant of COVID-19 has some people changing their holiday plans and early research shows that could be for good reason.

We got those answers, and many more, in a one-on-one interview with one of the world’s experts on COVID, just across the mountains in Seattle.

As Omicron spreads across the nation, Dr. Larry Corey, an internationally renowned expert in virology, immunology, and vaccine development, and a close friend of Dr. Anthony Fauci’s, share the most up-to-date information with us. He warns: the Omicron variant is different from anything else we’ve experienced so far.

“Tony, as I call him, is a long-standing friend and colleague, since March 3rd of 2020,” said Dr. Larry Corey, President, and Director Emeritus, Fred Hutch, among many other titles.

Since then, he’s been helping to design and execute the studies of the COVID vaccine, working alongside Dr. Fauci.

“I talk to him lots of times, sometimes many times a day and sometimes just two or three times a week when I need to talk to him,” explained Dr. Corey.

The first concerns of the Omicron variant are, of course, transmissibility.

“We have with the Omicron, something that is much more easily transmissible, than any other variant before. Even Delta,” said Dr. Corey.

There are more breakthrough cases for both the vaccinated and those who have been infected before. The value in having that vaccine, though, is still there.

“You are protected enough so that hospitalization and any complications should be markedly, markedly, reduced,” said Dr. Corey.

Additionally, if you aren’t vaccinated, and you get infected, you’re out of options.

“The monoclonal antibodies that have been used, most extensively, do not work. There is no backup system here,” warned Dr. Corey.

He draws attention to the reality that we can’t predict who will do well.

“Therefore, there is an obligation here I would say, as a citizen of the country, to get vaccinated and use preventive medicines, not for you, but for your loved ones also.”

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