Omicron variant of SARS-CoV-2: Genomics, transmissibility, and responses to current COVID-19 vaccines

J Med Virol. 2022 May;94(5):1825-1832. doi: 10.1002/jmv.27588. Epub 2022 Jan 23.


Currently, severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) has spread worldwide as an Omicron variant. This variant is a heavily mutated virus and designated as a variant of concern by the World Health Organization (WHO). WHO cautioned that the Omicron variant of SARS-CoV-2 held a very high risk of infection, reigniting anxieties about the economy's recovery from the 2-year pandemic. The extensively mutated Omicron variant is likely to spread internationally, posing a high risk of infection surges with serious repercussions in some areas. According to preliminary data, the Omicron variant of SARS-CoV-2 has a higher risk of reinfection. On the other hand, whether the current COVID-19 vaccines could effectively resist the new strain is still under investigation. However, there is very limited information on the current situation of the Omicron variant, such as genomics, transmissibility, efficacy of vaccines, treatment, and management. This review focused on the genomics, transmission, and effectiveness of vaccines against the Omicron variant, which will be helpful for further investigation of a new variant of SARS-CoV-2.

Keywords: SARS coronavirus; coronavirus; disease control; immune responses; vaccines/vaccine strains; virus classification.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • COVID-19 Vaccines
  • COVID-19* / prevention & control
  • Genomics
  • Humans
  • SARS-CoV-2* / genetics


  • COVID-19 Vaccines

Supplementary concepts

  • SARS-CoV-2 variants