BAR HARBOR — The Jackson Laboratory is working to identify the new Omicron form of COVID-19 and determine what its impact might be.
Jackson Lab Chief Medical Officer Jens Rueter said the Omicron variant has yet to be identified in Maine but that doesn’t mean it’s not already in the state.
He said it is still unclear how much more infectious or dangerous this new variant might be but the current practices of masks, vaccination and boosters are still the best defense for this and other possible variants in the future.
Rueter said people should not wait to get their booster shot if they are currently eligible.
“I think if you are not vaccinated now, get vaccinated. If you have not received your booster and you are at the appropriate time interval, it would be very important to get a booster now. That would be one way to prepare for this,” he said.
Rueter said Jackson Lab is working to understand why some people become seriously ill with COVID and others have only minor infections.
The lab is also trying to determine the precise differences between the multiple variants through a process called genomic sequencing.
He said this process involves viewing the genetic sequence of the virus one amino acid at a time to better understand its impact on the population’s health.