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FEATURING PETER MAYBARDUK - South Africa’s sophisticated scientific infrastructure has detected and sequenced a new mutated variant of the COVID-19 virus and alerted the world about its existence. The new variant, dubbed Omicron, was in the Netherlands, Europe, a week before being detected by South African scientists but that hasn’t stopped the U.S. from imposing travel bans on several African nations including South Africa.

It is not yet clear if symptoms from the Omicron variant are milder or worse than the Delta variant, if it is more transmissible, or if it responds badly to existing vaccines. But, critics point out that the longer that “vaccine apartheid” persists--wherein rich nations are hoarding vaccines--the more the virus has a chance to mutate.

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