First case of Omicron variant identified in Western New York

Published December 22, 2021

Several media outlets reported on the detection of the Omicron variant by UB scientists. The Buffalo News, WGRZ-TV, WIVB-TV and WKBW-TV were among outlets reporting on this story, as well as WBEN, which quoted Jennifer Surtees, associate professor of biochemistry, co-director of UB’s Community of Excellence in Genome, Environment and Microbiome, and head of the COVID-19 sequencing team at UB. Surtees said, “People who are 6 months past the second dose of Pfizer or Moderna, or two months after one dose of the J&J vaccine, are poorly protected against Omicron. The good news is that third dose, a booster, brings that protection way up again.” Thomas Russo, chief of infectious diseases in the Department of Medicine, told WKBW that, "Given how infectious Omicron is, given that immunity from prior infection and vaccination has been waning, the risk of getting infected is greater than ever."