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It's Almost Impossible to Find Out Which Covid Variant You Got

Tracking down why Americans can’t access their variant results was almost as hard as finding someone to sequence my snot

Inside the Opentrons Pandemic Response Lab in Queens, New York.

Inside the Opentrons Pandemic Response Lab in Queens, New York.

Photographer: Dina Litovsky/Redux

Last month, shortly after returning home from a bachelorette party, I tested positive for Covid. Twelve of us spent a weekend packed together in carefree revelry, including a night of drinking and dancing at a Connecticut casino; four of us got the virus within 72 hours. The point of origin seemed obvious. The bigger question: Which variant did we catch? 

I was mostly just curious. But in some cases, knowing which variant you have could help dictate treatment – certain monoclonal antibody drugs, for instance, are less effective against omicron. It might also help inform your personal risk calculus: We know that while an omicron infection provides immune protection against prior variants, those other variants don’t necessarily put your immune system in a position to defend against omicron.