(ECNS) -- The Omicron variant has been successfully isolated from clinical specimens by researchers at the Department of Microbiology of The University of Hong Kong (HKU), HKU said on Tuesday.
This is the first research team in Asia to successfully isolate the Omicron variant.
The isolated variant will help scientists in potential vaccine development and production.
Virus isolation and incubation were conducted at the biosafety level 3 laboratory (P3 laboratory) of the HKU following standard operating procedures.
The research team is now working on further isolating and incubating the virus to assess its transmissibility, immune evasion capability, and pathogenicity in animal models, according to the university.
It is also exploring the possibilities to jointly develop and produce inactivated whole virus vaccines.
Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) has reported three imported COVID-19 infections from the Omicron variant, all successfully contained before they spread to the local community, according to Sophia Chan Siu-chee, secretary for Food and Health of the HKSAR.