São Paulo confirms third imported Omicron case

omicron São Paulo-Guarulhos Airport. Photo: Arthur Matsuo/Shutterstock
São Paulo-Guarulhos Airport. Photo: Arthur Matsuo/Shutterstock

Health authorities in Brazil’s most-populous state São Paulo confirmed a third Covid infection caused by the Omicron coronavirus variant on Wednesday. The patient in question is a 29-year-old man who arrived in Brazil from Africa on Saturday. He has taken two shots of the Pfizer vaccine and has shown no symptoms of respiratory disease. 

On Tuesday, authorities confirmed that a couple who flew from South Africa to São Paulo-Guarulhos Airport last week and tested positive for Covid had contracted the Omicron variant.

Scientists still don’t know how effective existing vaccines will be against this new mutation, labeled by the World Health Organization as a “variant of concern.” Stéphane Bancel, CEO of Moderna, told the Financial Times that “there is no world, I think, where [the effectiveness] is the same level . . . we had with [the] Delta [variant].”

However, experts quoted by STAT, a news website specialized on health issues, say there’s good reason to believe people with some immune protections may avoid the worst of what Covid infections can do to immunologically naïve individuals.