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The omicron variant is in nearly a dozen countries. What do we know?

The United States remains on high alert on the lookout for the first case of the new omicron variant of COVID-19.

At this point, omicron has been labeled a “variant of concern” by the World Health Organization. It’s now spread to at least 11 countries on four continents — Africa, Australia, North America and Asia.

As scientists race to find out more about the variant, at least one vaccine company says it could take two to three months to create an omicron-specific vaccine and a number of countries, including Israel and Morocco, have instituted bans on travel into the country for non-citizens.

Host Callum Borchers talks to Dr. Jeanne Marrazzo, director of the Division of Infectious Diseases at the University of Alabama in Birmingham, about the latest on the variant.

This article was originally published on WBUR.org.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.