A study in Japan has found that the omicron variant of COVID-19 is 4.2 times more contagious than the delta strain, Bloomberg reported on Thursday. "The omicron variant transmits more, and escapes immunity built naturally and through vaccines more," said Hiroshi Nishiura, a professor of health and environmental sciences at Kyoto University, in the study presented at a Japan health ministry meeting. Nishiura, who uses mathematical modeling of infectious diseases, examined genome data from South Africa as of Nov. 28. His study has not yet been peer reviewed, but he is one of hundreds of scientists around the globe studying the new variant to determine if current vaccines will be effective. Pfizer /zigman2/quotes/202877789/composite PFE -0.39% said Wednesday that an initial study showed three doses of the COVID vaccine it developed with BioNTech /zigman2/quotes/214419716/composite BNTX +0.82% should neutralize the omicron variant.