Updates from The Nebraska Public Health Laboratory (NPHL), featuring one or more articles each month. NPHL shares important laboratory and public health information, keeping clinical labs up to date about issues in Nebraska and around the world.
Omicron Variant: What Do We Know About It?
By Baha Abdalhamid, MD, PhD, D(ABMM), Assistant Professor, NPHL
A new variant of SARS-CoV-2 was reported to the World Health Organization (WHO) on 24Nov2021. This variant was first detected in South Africa and named the Omicron variant (lineage B.1.1.529). Subsequently, this variant was classified as a variant of concern (VOC) by the WHO. This variant has spread rapidly in several countries and is now spreading in the US. The first confirmed US case of Omicron was identified on 1Dec 2021 and was confirmed in Nebraska by the Nebraska Public Health Laboratory (NPHL) on 3Dec2021. The Department of Health and Human Services, and the Nebraska Public Health Solutions detected six cases of the Omicron variant in Nebraska at that time which originally represented the largest known cluster in the US. By 22Dec2021, 48 states have now identified the Omicron variant.