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How UNLV research helps track COVID variants in Nevada – Las Vegas, Nevada

Las Vegas, Nevada 2021-11-29 22:16:51 –

Las Vegas (KTNV) — Scientists around the world are competing to understand the Omicron variant of COVID-19. This includes here in Las Vegas, where research is being conducted at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

UNLV’s wastewater monitoring program is primarily aimed at identifying new variants and helps states identify when and when they will emerge.

“This is really the sole purpose of this type of program. How fast are variants in the United States and how fast are they spreading?” Said Edwin O, a professor at UNLV School of Medicine.

This year, we saw many COVID-19 mutations, from Alpha in the UK to Epsilon in California. The UNLV program examines Las Vegas wastewater to determine if there are variants in our community.

“What we know for sure is that these variants spread with people who fly from one place to another,” Oh said.

The reason Omicron is attracting worldwide attention is due to its apparent infection rate.

“Seeing numbers go from 10 to 50 and 500 to 5,000 within a few days is the definition of a mutation that can escape the vaccine,” Oh said.

The more it spreads, the more it has the opportunity to mutate, which is why vaccination is important, he says.

“Our vaccination rates need to go up, and I think we can avoid serious complications if we can go up in those numbers,” he said. The world can truly assess the new dangers that can arise from this variant.

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