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Talking omicron with Matthew Binnicker, Ph.D.

December 14, 2021

As the omicron variant of COVID-19 garners more attention and triggers new pandemic concerns, media outlets across the country are looking to medical professionals to help answer questions and provide some context. Matthew Binnicker, Ph.D., director of Mayo Clinic’s Clinical Virology Laboratory, has been one of the experts frequently called on to offer his insight, and he’s contributed to a variety of recent news stories.

Matthew Binnicker, Ph.D.

An article published by the Associated Press explored whether omicron could overtake the delta variant in its domination of COVID-19 cases and, if so, what that could mean for the pandemic. Dr. Binnicker cautioned that it will take a bit more time to find out. “Especially here in the U.S., where we’re seeing significant surges in delta, whether omicron’s going to replace it I think we’ll know in about two weeks,” he said.

CNBC reviewed the current COVID situation, stating that, despite all the interest in omicron, delta is still driving the vast majority cases in the U.S. Dr. Binnicker explained that’s due in large part to the way the virus mutated. “That’s why we saw delta take over. It out-competed all of the other variants of SARS-CoV-2 in the world,” he said. “It became king of the hill.” He shared similar views in an article in the StarTribune that explored how laboratories in Minnesota are performing genetic sequencing to identify COVID variants.

Along with responding to media inquiries, Dr. Binnicker also served as a presenter at the Dec. 4 CDC/IDSA COVID-19 Clinician Call — a national forum for frontline clinicians who care for patients with COVID-19. He discussed the potential impact of the omicron variant on COVID-19 testing and reviewed key diagnostic considerations with the expansion of at-home and antigen testing.

Watch the full webinar here.

Other media stories Dr. Binnicker has contributed to recently include:

Tracy Will

Tracy Will is a senior marketing specialist at Mayo Clinic Laboratories where she covers innovation, specialty testing, and advances in laboratory medicine. Tracy has worked at Mayo Clinic since 2016.