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Omicron unlikely to mark end of pandemic, Russian expert says

Omicron unlikely to mark end of pandemic, Russian expert says

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The coronavirus pandemic will continue until most people develop immunity, Director of Russia’s Gamaleya Scientific Research Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology Alexander Gintsburg told the Rossiya-24 TV channel.

"I do believe that everyone can contract it [Omicron]. But unfortunately, I see no scientific reasons to believe that this is where it will end. It will take a long time until most people in the world develop herd immunity," the expert pointed out.

According to Gintsburg, if the vaccination process is slow, people will need to repeatedly get vaccinated in order to make sure that they have antibodies capable of protecting them from new mutations.

The B.1.1.529 coronavirus strain, named after the Greek letter omicron, was first discovered in southern Africa.

According to the latest data, a total of 1,682 Omicron cases have been recorded in Russia.

Head of the Russian sanitary watchdog Anna Popova said on January 11 that 305 Omicron patients had been identified in the country. That said, the number of Omicron cases in Russia increased more than five-fold in a week.