“It’s an open question as to whether or not Omicron is going to be the live virus vaccination everyone is hoping for,” Fauci said via videoconference at the World Economic Forum’s Davos Agenda virtual event on Monday.
“Because you have such a great deal of variability with new variants emerging,” he said.
Researchers and health experts are hopeful that the Omicron variant, while highly transmissible, is less severe, and poses milder symptoms in infected people, compared with other strains such as the Delta variant.
Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy & Infectious Diseases, cast doubt that the variant spells the endgame for the pandemic.
“I would hope that that’s the case. But that would only be the case if we don’t get another variant that eludes the immune response of the prior variant,” Fauci said when asked whether the virus may become endemic this year.
“Control means you have it present but it is present at a level that does not disrupt society,” Fauci said. “That’s my definition of what endemicity would mean.”
Fauci, President Joe Biden’s chief medical adviser, said that if the virus remains present at an endemic level, society may see a return to a level of normality that existed before the pandemic, such as no longer having to wear masks.
Fauci said that he doesn’t believe the virus will be eliminated completely but said he hopes it will be “at such a low level that it doesn’t disrupt our normal social, economic, and other interactions with each other.”
“To me, that’s what the new normal is,” he said.
Fauci said research efforts should focus on COVID-19 vaccines that can provide broad protection against new strains.
“We don’t want to get into a whack-a-mole for every variant, where you have to make a booster against a particular variant,” said Fauci. “You’ll be chasing it forever.”
“That’s the reason why what we’re all pushing for is finding out what the mechanisms are that induces a response to a commonality among all the real and potential variants we’re seeing and that can occur,” he added.
Days earlier, Fauci said he believes that “just about everybody” will be infected, sooner or later, with the Omicron variant.
“I think in many respects, Omicron, with its extraordinary, unprecedented degree of efficiency of transmissibility, will ultimately find just about everybody,” Fauci said during a talk held by the Center for Strategic & International Studies on Jan. 11.
Hours earlier, Dr. Janet Woodcock, the Food and Drug Administration’s acting commissioner, offered a similar view.
“I think it’s hard to process what’s actually happening right now, which is most people are going to get COVID,” she told a congressional panel in Washington.
Zachary Stieber contributed to this report.
From The Epoch Times