FACT FINDERS: Searching for the origin of the omicron variant

Published: Dec. 10, 2021 at 6:12 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - The omicron variant of COVID-19 has so many mutations it is raising big questions about how it came to be.

Dr. Deepta Bhattacharya with the University of Arizona said it does not look like it is a mutation of the delta variant.

He said while there is not a firm answer to its origins, there are a couple of theories.

”There’s a theory that it could potentially have gone back to an animal, mutated further within the animal and then got passed back to a human,” he said. “One of the other theories is that it infected someone whose immune system wasn’t working that great.

“There are a lot of HIV-positive people in Southern Africa, which allowed the virus to mutate for a long time within one person before it came back out and infected someone else.”

It is important to know where omicron came from.

Bhattacharya said if we have that information, we might be able to stop the virus from having the same opportunity to mutate in the future.

Bhattacharya said it is possible we may never know for sure where the variant came from.

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