The omicron variant of the novel coronavirus will overwhelm the world in the next three to six months, according to a COVID-19 expert.
Dr. Leong Hoe Nam, a Singapore-based infectious disease doctor at the Mount Elizabeth Novena Hospital, told CNBC’s “Street Signs Asia” that all signs point toward omicron spreading wildly throughout the world.
“But frankly, omicron will dominate and overwhelm the whole world in three to six months,” he said.
New COVID-19 vaccines could be developed to fight any new strains, he said. However, that will take time to make sure they’re given the proper trials and tests necessary to ensure safety.
We’ve already heard from vaccine developers about what’s happening next. Moderna said it is still months away from a vaccine that will target omicron, as I wrote for the Deseret News. Similarly, Pfizer said its omicron-centered shots will be ready in slightly over 100 days.
“Nice idea, but honestly, it is not practical,” Leong said about the omicron-centric vaccines. “We won’t be able to rush out the vaccines in time and by the time the vaccines come, practically everyone will be infected by omicron given this high infectious and transmissibility.”
This would fit with the timeline of another expert. Dr. Mark Dybul, a professor at Georgetown University Medical Center’s Department of Medicine and immunologist, said there will be a COVID-19 vaccine-resistant variant by spring 2022, according to Fortune.
“I hope I’m wrong this time, but I think by March, April, May, we will have a fully vaccine-resistant variant,” he said. “There’s simply no way you can have such low rates of vaccination around the world with the virus ping-ponging between vaccinated and unvaccinated people. I’m an immunologist. The probability of us seeing a vaccine-resistant strain is very high.”