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The AP Interview: Man who sounded alarm on omicron

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Dr. Sikhulile Moyo was analyzing COVID-19 samples in his lab in Botswana last week when he noticed they looked startlingly different from others. Within days, the world was ablaze with the news that the coronavirus had a new variant of concern. Little is known about the new variant, but the spike in South Africa suggests it might be more contagious, said Moyo, the scientist who may have been the first to identify the new variant, though researchers in neighboring South Africa were close on his heels. South Africa's hospitals are so far coping with the new surge, he said. Even hospitals in Gauteng province, which accounts for more than 70% of new daily infections, have the capacity to handle the new admissions, he said. This picture could change because most of the people infected thus far have been younger who generally do not get as sick as older patients. But Moyo expressed hope that vaccines would not be sidelined by the new variant.


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