UF Health researcher finds new pattern of mutations in omicron variant

Dr. David Ostrov said he identified four patterns of mutation

A University of Florida professor said the omicron variant of the coronavirus has more mutations than the delta variant.

As scientists race to understand how so many mutations arose in omicron, University of Florida immunologist Dr. David Ostrov said he got busy researching.

“Over the weekend I tried to find the mutations in omicron, but it was so new the CDC didn’t even have a formal description on its website,” Ostrov said.

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Ostrov said he identified four patterns of mutation and published a paper last week.

“I wasn’t really sure what to do until Monday when I was contacted by the Global Virus Network an international group of experts in virology and they have allowed me to participate in the COVID-19 task force meetings,” Ostrov said.

The Global Virus Network asked Ostrov if he would be able to interpret the new mutations of omicron.

“I immediately did that and I was very surprised and a little scared that there are more mutations in every single one of those patterns and two, in particular, have a very high number of mutations,” he said.

He shared his thoughts on booster shots.

“What we should do in my opinion is we should be updating the boosters with the sequences of the circulating variants,” he said.

Ostrov is urging world health leaders to act fast.

“The vaccine hasn’t changed but the virus has and that has caused the vaccine efficacy to go down,” he said.