Dr. Eric Topol expects Covid vaccines will protect against severe disease from omicron infection

Dr. Eric Topol told CNBC’s Jim Cramer on Tuesday he believes existing Covid vaccines will offer adequate protection against serve disease for people who get infected by the newly detected omicron variant.

In an interview on “Mad Money,” the individualized medicine expert also stressed the importance of receiving a Covid booster shot, imploring eligible Americans to get the additional vaccine dose.

“There’s lots of reasons for optimism that this is not some horrible situation that we’re in. The vaccines should hold up against severe disease, especially with people who are boosted,” said Topol, founder and director of the Scripps Research Translational Institute.

There’s yet to be a confirmed case in the U.S. of the highly mutated coronavirus variant that was first detected by health officials in South Africa about a week ago. However, some health experts warn it’s just a matter of time before that happens given international travel patterns.

Given the number of spike protein mutations associated with the omicron variant, Topol said, “The main agenda here is, how much does it really evade our immune system?”

“We are so certain when you get a booster third shot, you get really high levels of neutralizing antibodies and you get broader coverage of those antibodies,” Topol said.

“The other thing is T cells. T cells are what’s really protecting us from severe disease, from Covid pneumonia,” he continued. Antibodies and T cells are both part of the immune system’s response to fight infections.

“Our T cells are very insensitive, not affected by variants, to any significant degree,” Topol said. “If you just look at the biology, you would be optimistic, really,” he added.

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