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OhioHealth doctor discusses spread, symptoms of omicron coronavirus variant - 10TV

OhioHealth doctor discusses spread, symptoms of omicron coronavirus variant - 10TV

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Dr. Anup Kanodia explains how the omicron variant of COVID-19 differs from the other known variants.

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Scientists in South African identified last week a new version of the coronavirus, dubbed the omicron variant. It's unclear where the new variant first emerged, but scientists in South Africa first alerted the World Health Organization.

The omicron variant has been seen in parts of the United Kingdom, Germany, Italy and Canada.

While still largely unknown, the World Health Organization has called omicron a "variant of concern." Countries have also started imposing travel restrictions to prevent further spread. 

Dr. Anup Kanodia, who specializes in alternative, integrative and functional medicine.at OhioHealth, said research shows the omicron variant is different than the others. 

How quickly is it spreading?

Kanodia said the variant can become worrisome as cases are quickly spreading, citing the number of cases in South Africa has doubled in one day.

Cases have also been detected in Italy, Germany, the U.K. and Canada. 

What are the symptoms of the omicron variant?

According to Kanodia, doctors and scientists have seen different symptoms among patients diagnosed with the omicron variant. 

Kanodia said the symptoms are similar to a cold where patients have experienced muscle soreness, tiredness and a slight cough. So far, those diagnosed with the omicron have not lost their sense of taste or smell. 

However, Kanodia said researchers are seeing people who already had a previous variant of COVID-19 can be re-infected with the omicron variant.

How effective are the vaccines against the omicron variant?

There is still a lot to learn about the omicron variant and it will likely take weeks to determine if omicron is more infectious and if existing vaccines would still be effective against it. 

Vaccine makers such as Pfizer and Moderna have announced they already have plans in place to adapt their vaccines if necessary. 

According to Kanodia, research has shown the current vaccines are 40% effective against the new variant. Kanodia encourages people to get a booster shot to increase the chances of fighting the omicron variant if infected. 

"The booster is now more important than ever to increase our visualizing antibodies. So if you haven't gotten the booster and you're the right age group, that's something to very strongly consider,' he said.

Kanodia is hosting a free webinar on Dec. 8 to discuss the omicron variant.  You can sign up for the webinar here.

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