Dr. Anthony Fauci on Sunday mentioned that the Biden administration anticipated COVID-19 to mutate however have been unprepared for the “extent of mutations” discovered within the Omicron variant.
The White Home chief medical advisor responded to feedback final week from Vice President Kamala Harris, who mentioned that scientists advising the administration didn’t see the Omicron or Delta variants “coming.”
“We actually have been anticipating that there have been going to be variants as a result of we have now so many viruses, a lot replication occurring locally,” Fauci instructed CNN anchor Jake Tapper on “State of the Union.”
“In the event you give a virus sufficient alternative to copy, you already know, it’s going to finally mutate and generally these mutations wind up being a brand new variant and that’s precisely what occurred with Delta and positively that’s what occurred with Omicron.”
However he mentioned they have been much less ready for the shape that the brand new variants would take.
“What was not anticipated was the extent of the mutations and the amino acid substitutions in Omicron, which is absolutely unprecedented. It sort of got here out of nowhere,” Fauci mentioned.
Fauci famous that Omicron has 50 mutations from the unique coronavirus, principally within the spike protein, the a part of the virus that binds to cells.
“To me, that’s actually fairly unprecedented in order that’s one thing you wouldn’t have anticipated,” Fauci mentioned.
Because the administration makes an attempt to deal with the Omicron variant, Fauci mentioned that speedy at-home COVID-19 checks will should be extra broadly accessible.
“We actually must flood the system with testing. We have to have checks accessible for anybody who needs them notably extra in a scenario proper now when individuals are going to be gathering,” Fauci mentioned.
“Although they’re vaccinated and boosted, they could wish to go that further step that further mile.”