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Health Variant: omicron, natural immunity and the difficulty of hatching a global scientific conspiracy

In the latest episode of "The Health Variant" podcast, host and NewsMD Health Correspondent Jeremy Fugleberg talks with immunologist Dr. Marc K. Jenkins at the University of Minnesota. Jenkins discusses what we know and don't know about the omicron variant, explains about why it's not so easy to know if you have the natural immunity you need to fight off COVID-19 (but could in the foreseeable future), and details what happened to the hopes for herd immunity. 

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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. — With the omicron variant of COVID-19 rapidly spreading across the U.S., now seems like a very good time to talk to an expert on how the body fights off disease, including the ins and outs of natural immunity.

In the latest episode of "The Health Variant" podcast, host and NewsMD Health Correspondent Jeremy Fugleberg talks with immunologist Dr. Marc K. Jenkins at the University of Minnesota , where he is Regents and Distinguished McKnight University professor in the U of M's Department of Microbiology and Immunology and director of the Center for Immunology.

Jenkins discusses what we know and don't know about the omicron variant, explains about why it's not so easy to know if you have the natural immunity you need to fight off COVID-19 (but could in the foreseeable future), and details what happened to the hopes for herd immunity.

Also, we get into the ongoing gold rush of new research on COVID-19, and how how the scientific community isn't really set up to sustain a global scientific conspiracy when a researcher can make a name for themselves by proving someone wrong.

"The Health Variant" digs into health topics important to the region, such as fitness, COVID-19, cannabis and telehealth, introduces listeners to must-know places and people and offers behind-the-scenes reporting.

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NewsMD is a Forum Communications brand focusing on health and health care reporting, primarily in the Upper Midwest, including coverage of industry news, research, trends, technology, economic and policy issues.

"The Health Variant" podcast is available on major podcast apps, including:

For comments or podcast episode topic suggestions, contact Fugleberg at jfugleberg@forumcomm.com or on Twitter: @jayfug .

Jeremy Fugleberg is editor of The Vault, Forum Communications Co.'s home for Midwest history, mysteries, crime and culture. He is also a member of the company's Editorial Advisory Board.
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