How Science Will Solve the Omicron Variant’s Mysteries

Starting last Friday, the race was on—between a virus and information about it. And for a while, the information moved faster, even though there was hardly any of it.

Scientists in South Africa identified a new variant of the virus that causes Covid-19—within days the World Health Organization gave it the spy-sci-fi name Omicron—and because of the abundant smorgasbord of mutations in its spike protein, the nanomechanical tentacle that attaches and cracks into cells, science alarms started going off.

But to be clear, they were the “We should check this out” alarms, not the “Everybody lose their effing minds” alarms. Apparently they sound alike, though. Panic took flight as scientists identified

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