How Omicron Variant Rattled the World in One Week
Over coffee at his office on Tuesday, Tulio de Oliveira, director of South Africa’s Center for Epidemic Response and Innovation, let a colleague in on a secret.
“There’s something going on,” he told Alex Sigal, a virologist growing coronaviruses at a South African laboratory. “They’ve found a variant they’ve never seen before.”
For days, case numbers in the nation had been rising rapidly. Puzzled lab technicians had been getting back Covid-19 tests that were positive, but showing an element was missing on the virus’s telltale spike protein, potentially signaling that...