UF Health researcher finds new pattern of mutations in omicron variant - WJXT News4JAX
Dec 03, 2021 1 min, 9 secs
– A University of Florida Health researcher has successfully analyzed the many mutations in the omicron variant of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, a crucial step in better understanding the variant’s potential threat and ways to combat it.

His analysis for the Global Virus Network found omicron has substantially more mutations than the delta variant at four key sites within the virus.

At least one of those sites — which may affect omicron’s transmissibility — has more than three times as many mutations as the delta variant, Ostrov found.

Scientists elsewhere have said omicron is about five times more transmissible than delta — a point that was backed up by Ostrov’s analysis.

And there are a number of mutations that are completely unknown in terms of their function,” said Ostrov, an associate professor in the UF College of Medicine’s department of pathology, immunology and laboratory medicine.

Ostrov said it’s not just the number of mutations that are concerning but more importantly their locations.

In another key part of omicron, Ostrov found 14 mutations compared with just two in the delta variant.

“As a variant of concern, it looks like omicron also has the potential to be a variant of high consequence,” Ostrov said.

While the analysis of omicron mutations is concerning, Ostrov said it’s also a starting point for strategizing ways to contain and neutralize the variant.

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