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Omicron: 5 things to know as studies lift hopes for milder disease

After a month of rapid global spread, experts warn against complacency

A projector image shows immunofluorescence staining of cells infected with the omicron coronavirus strain in Hong Kong.   © AP

TOKYO -- Over a month after the discovery of the omicron coronavirus variant shook global markets, triggered travel bans and put vaccine makers on alert, early signs point to a far more contagious strain that is less likely to land patients in the hospital.

Yet experts are still racing to understand the highly mutated form of the virus, and are warning against complacency.

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