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    Omicron 'the beginning of the end of pandemic' and a 'natural vaccine', says OCTA fellow

    MANILA, Philippines –
    Fr. Nicanor Austriaco, an OCTA Research fellow, said that the COVID-19 Omicron variant marks “the beginning of the end of the pandemic.” After describing Omicron as a "natural vaccine", he still warns the public to be cautious and follow health precautions against the spread of the virus.

    Fr. Nicanor Austriaco shares the study on the Omicron variant.
    Fr. Nicanor Austriaco shares the study on the Omicron variant.

    Austriaco, a Filipino-American priest who is also a molecular biologist, shared a study during a Go Negosyo town hall that showed the post-infection effects of the Omicron variant. According to Austriaco's presentation, it showed that patients who survived Omicron variant gained antibodies not just Omicron but other variants such as the Delta, Gamma, Beta, Alpha and the D614G. This meant, those who were infected with Omicron but survived are more protected to a wider range of COVID-19 variants.

    “We have to realize that Omicron is the beginning of the end of the pandemic because Omicron is going to provide the kind of population immunity that should stabilize our societies and should allow us to reopen,” he said.

    The researcher went on to share his optimism that Omicron might actually be a "blessing" giving us the protection that everyone has been praying for.

    “This is the hope and the prayer. The Omicron is actually a blessing. It will be hard for one month but afterwards it should be a blessing because it should provide the population protection that we need everywhere,” Austriaco added.

    The OCTA fellow cited how South Africa was able to survive Omicron. Austriaco noted that the country had their number of infections so high that the virus "will run out of food". After the surge, it is expected that the numbers will drop.

    "We should expect a very rapid increase…We should expect this but this is a good sign because if it goes up very quickly, and it finds all the food it can find it will also rapidly decelerate," Austriaco explained.

    He assured that the possible surge caused by the Omicron will only be mild cases with lesser hospitalizations and fatalities.

    However, Austriaco clarified that everyone still needs to be cautious, especially those who are unvaccinated. “It’s milder, but if you’re unvaccinated, it’s still harder for you,” he said.

    — Sally, The Summit Express

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