AURORA, Colo. (KDVR) — It’s a busy time for Dr. May Chu, a clinical professor at the Colorado School of Public Health at the CU Anschutz Medical Campus.

Chu is an expert advisor for the World Health Organization, and she is helping to tackle the omicron variant with her colleagues around the world.

“There’s been a flurry of meetings and we have joined on a number of those meetings to talk about sort of hot-off-the-press observations by South African scientists who are working really, really hard on this,” Chu said.

The early observations of the omicron variant show some differences.

“What the doctors say now at very early stages is that it’s much more flu-like in soreness and being fatigued and muscle soreness and fever, and that they don’t know all the severe outcomes of it yet, because it’s too early,” Chu said. 

Studies are now underway looking at the severity of the symptoms, how easily the virus spreads, and how well the current vaccines work against it.

“It could be that we are going to have less protection because some of it’s going to be mutated, but not all of it. So, the protection is likely still there. We won’t know for another two or three weeks on the studies that are being done in South Africa right now,” Chu said. 

She believes it’s likely the omicron variant is already in the United States but has not been detected yet. But, she said there’s no reason to panic if you’re making informed decisions.

“This is public health trying to let people know what’s coming. It’s not doomsday, but we also need to be very careful,” she said.

Chu expects to have more information from the studies in two weeks. Until then she says to continue taking precautions, get vaccinated and get boosted.