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EWC Insights: The Omicron Transformation: A Virus Ups Its Game EWC Insights: The Omicron Transformation: A Virus Ups Its Game
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EWC Insights: The Omicron Transformation: A Virus Ups Its Game

featuring Dr. Tim Brown, Senior Fellow, East-West Center.


After the Delta variant swept the world in mid-2021, many countries relaxed restrictions late in the year, believing the COVID-19 pandemic was almost behind them. But the failure to address the vaccine needs of over half the world’s population left the virus a fertile breeding ground to continue its own evolution. Until late November, the world mainly monitored the progress of Delta’s children and siblings, naively assuming they’d give rise to the next threat.

But viruses are constantly evolving, and from the sheltering confines of the unvaccinated world, COVID-19 sprung its next surprise on an exhausted humanity: the Omicron variant. First reported to the World Health Organization from the sequencing labs of South Africa on November 24th, by November 26th WHO had declared it a variant of concern. A quantum leap in viral evolution, by early December, it was well on its way to claiming dominance in a growing number of countries. In the intervening weeks, the scientific community has come a long way in understanding Omicron, but there is still a long way to go.

This presentation will:

  • Highlight the factors that have made Omicron a serious contender for global dominance
  • Explore the effects of Omicron on existing tools for controlling COVID-19 and its impacts
  • Discuss what’s needed to protect yourself, your families & your communities from Omicron
     

About the Speaker

Dr. Tim Brown is a Senior Fellow in the Research Program at the East-West Center and heads the Center’s HIV modeling team, which produces the tools used by national HIV programs and modeling teams throughout Asia. His primary focus is on infectious disease modeling and its applications to public policy. He currently works with UNAIDS, Global Fund, Avenir Health, and other global and national partners to develop HIV estimation and projection tools and methodologies for countries, apply these to comprehensive policy analyses of HIV epidemics and effective responses to them, and support the development of improved strategic information systems in Asia and the Pacific. Like many working in HIV, Dr. Brown has been drawn into efforts to respond to the COVID pandemic in the last year and a half. In a previous incarnation, he obtained his Ph.D. in High Energy Theoretical Physics from the University of Hawaiʻi.

EWC Insights: The Omicron Transformation: A Virus Ups Its Game

featuring Dr. Tim Brown, Senior Fellow, East-West Center.


After the Delta variant swept the world in mid-2021, many countries relaxed restrictions late in the year, believing the COVID-19 pandemic was almost behind them. But the failure to address the vaccine needs of over half the world’s population left the virus a fertile breeding ground to continue its own evolution. Until late November, the world mainly monitored the progress of Delta’s children and siblings, naively assuming they’d give rise to the next threat.

But viruses are constantly evolving, and from the sheltering confines of the unvaccinated world, COVID-19 sprung its next surprise on an exhausted humanity: the Omicron variant. First reported to the World Health Organization from the sequencing labs of South Africa on November 24th, by November 26th WHO had declared it a variant of concern. A quantum leap in viral evolution, by early December, it was well on its way to claiming dominance in a growing number of countries. In the intervening weeks, the scientific community has come a long way in understanding Omicron, but there is still a long way to go.

This presentation will:

  • Highlight the factors that have made Omicron a serious contender for global dominance
  • Explore the effects of Omicron on existing tools for controlling COVID-19 and its impacts
  • Discuss what’s needed to protect yourself, your families & your communities from Omicron
     

About the Speaker

Dr. Tim Brown is a Senior Fellow in the Research Program at the East-West Center and heads the Center’s HIV modeling team, which produces the tools used by national HIV programs and modeling teams throughout Asia. His primary focus is on infectious disease modeling and its applications to public policy. He currently works with UNAIDS, Global Fund, Avenir Health, and other global and national partners to develop HIV estimation and projection tools and methodologies for countries, apply these to comprehensive policy analyses of HIV epidemics and effective responses to them, and support the development of improved strategic information systems in Asia and the Pacific. Like many working in HIV, Dr. Brown has been drawn into efforts to respond to the COVID pandemic in the last year and a half. In a previous incarnation, he obtained his Ph.D. in High Energy Theoretical Physics from the University of Hawaiʻi.