Thierry Bernard, CEO of QIAGEN | January 20th 2022
We need a huge push to prevent Phi, Rho and Sigma
January 20th, 2022
The Omicron variant is spreading around the world and SARS-CoV-2 infections are rising sharply in the US as the next wave of the virus takes hold thanks to the holiday season of traveling and hugging (and traveling again). Omicron is the world’s fifth “variant of concern” in the space of a year. Despite all our efforts to socially distance, test for infections and get vaccinated, the virus continues to outpace us. We are not learning from experience.
Genetic surveillance, broad vaccination and proper testing finally have to go hand in hand. Only this trio together can beat SARS-CoV-2 in all its variants.
Home tests that check for virus-specific proteins called antigens are estimated to misidentify 15 percent of infections as so-called false negatives. They are not as reliable as molecular PCR tests analyzed in labs.
Learning from our mistakes would mean spotting the almost inevitable Phi, Rho and Sigma variants before they have traveled from their source across the globe.
Only by spotting the appearance and spread of new variants early can we ensure that our tests, vaccines, and treatments will continue to be effective.