December 10, 2022

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5 things to know about the new variant Omicron that is causing concern

A new variant of the rampant corona virus has been identified. On Friday, November 26, the World Health Organization (WHO) named the new variant B.1.1.529 “Omicron” and classified it as one of the most worrying types.

Health experts are concerned that her high number of mutations may increase her risk of re-infection.

Cases of this new variant have already been reported in South Africa, Botswana, Hong Kong, Israel, the United Kingdom and Belgium. Its appearance again shows that the epidemic is still far away.

Here are 5 things you need to know about Omicron according to the WHO:

1. Mutation profile of the new variant

The South African Genetic Surveillance Network (NGS-SA) has identified a group of related SARS-CoV-2 viruses that belong to the genus B.1.1.52.

B.1.1.529 Spike is said to have many mutations in the protein, and early analysis suggests that it is highly contagious.

2. Symptoms

The National Institute for Infectious Diseases (NICD) of South Africa stated that there are currently “no unusual symptoms” reported after infection with the B.1.1.529 variant. NICD indicated that, like other types of infections, some are asymptomatic. There is currently no information that the symptoms associated with Omigran are different from other types.

3. Relocation

Early indications are that this variant may be more contagious than the delta variant, and that current vaccines may be less effective against it. However, it is not yet known whether Omicron is more easily transmitted from person to person than other COVID-19 types. Although the number of positive test takers has increased in some parts of South Africa, epidemiological studies are underway to understand whether this was caused by omigran or other factors.

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4. Severity of disease

At this time, it is not yet clear whether Omigran infection causes more serious disease than infections with other variants. First Infections College students (juniors) have a mild illness. However, it can take several days to several weeks to understand the extent of the severity.

5. Efficacy of vaccines

The WHO is working with technology partners to understand the potential impact of this variation on existing countermeasures, including vaccines. Since Omicron has been identified as a variant of concern, several measures are recommended for countries. These activities include strengthening case surveillance, reporting first cases or sets of cases to the WHO, and conducting field investigations.

Photo credit: Passport Sand