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What new research suggests about the growing omicron COVID-19 variant

According to research out of South Africa, the Omicron COVID variant is at least three times more likely to cause reinfection than the Delta variant.

BRYAN, Texas — We continue to research and learn more about Omicron, but the latest news from researchers suggests that this latest variant could possibly be the key to ending the pandemic.

Dr. William Lang is the Chief Medical Officer for World Clinic and served under two U.S. presidents as a Deputy Physician

"When you're looking at a new variant, any one of these variants that come out, you got to look at three things," Lang said. "How infectious is it? How serious is the disease it causes? And do our tools we use to treat, to mitigate, to prevent, are they still working?."

 According to research out of South Africa, the Omicron COVID variant is at least three times more likely to cause reinfection than the Delta variant. That means the Omicron mutation appears to allow it to infect people that already have immunity from a previous COVID infection.

While we haven't yet seen the variation here in the Brazos Valley, it's only a matter of time, says Mary Parrish with the Brazos County Health District.

Especially with it being the holiday season. When people travel, the virus travels too.

"The higher infection rate is something we are concerned about, although currently, this variation does not look like it's more severe than any of the other," Parrish said. "We still must watch it, especially with our vulnerable populations."

Omicron has been detected in at least 38 countries, but no deaths have been reported by the World Health Organization.

"Right now, people are looking at Omicron as could this be another delta, that's going to make everybody sick again," Lang said. "Well, there's equally as good a chance, if not a better chance that omicron is really the beginning of the end."

Doctor Lang is predicting that if Omicron continues to spread and become the dominant variant across the globe then it could defeat the deadlier variants that we've seen.

Regardless of the variants of COVID-19. Health officials continue to stress getting vaccinated, getting the booster, and practicing good hygiene are the best ways to keep you and your loved ones safe.

"Keep in mind, natural immunity is different from getting vaccinated," Parrish said. "Getting vaccinated is much safer. It's much more effective and we've even seen with Omicron, people who have had COVID are more susceptible to Omicron compared to people who have been vaccinated.”

Just today the first case of Omicron in Harris county and Texas was reported.

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