New Variant, Old Problems
© Sputnik / Ted RallNow there's a coronavirus Omicron variant. When will this nightmare end?
© Sputnik / Ted Rall
A new contender for the title of most dangerous COVID-19 variant, capable of displacing the currently dominant Indian Delta strain, was discovered in South Africa last week, and the WHO has given it the name Omicron. It is considered a variant of concern because of its high number of mutations, which could make it more transmissible and hazardous.
As a result of the advent of the Omicron variant, governments throughout the world have imposed travel restrictions on southern African countries in an effort to halt the spread of the mutated virus strain.
Markets predictably reacted to the recently introduced and possible future restrictive measures with a drop, despite assurances from the world's leading medical specialists that the existing vaccines can protect against the new strain, as well as statements by international leaders that a total freeze of the international economy is not foreseen.
Investors, however, were especially alarmed by the comments of Moderna's CEO, who claimed that existing coronavirus vaccines would be ineffective against the newly found Omicron variant.
Presently, due to the pandemic-related shutdowns and other disruptions, the US economy, for instance, declined by 3.5% in 2020. And Russia's President Vladimir Putin said on Tuesday that the pace of global economic recovery has already been put into doubt by the fresh wave of morbidity triggered by the new variant.
Since Omicron is obviously not the last strain that we are going to witness, the question arises whether humanity will manage to develop effective measures to combat the virus before the Greek alphabet runs out of letters to designate its variants.