The new variant of the coronavirus has arrived in many parts of the world and first, it was detected in South Africa. The scientific name of a new variant of the corona is B.1.1.529, and it has been entitled as ‘Omicron variant’ by WHO and classified as ‘variant of concern.’ Let’s discuss more of Omicron variant:
What is the Omicron Variant?
The scientific name of the omicron variant is B.1.1.529 labelled by World Health Organization when South Africans reported this variant to the WHO. In one of the organization’s statements, the new variant has various mutations, which are of concern.
According to preliminary evidence, there is a higher risk of re-infection with the Omicron variant as compared to other variants. On November 29, the omicron variant has been detected in 15 countries on 5 continents, including Canada.
Current Information about Omicron
Researchers in South Africa and other researchers around the world are studying this variant to get more information about the omicron variant.
- According to experts, the Omicron virus has symptoms similar to the Covid-19 variant.
- Experts say cough, fever, and shortness of breath are among the symptoms, including muscle aches.
- People who have been diagnosed with the Omicron virus don’t report loss of smell or taste.
- Experts say that virus can be spread because various people don’t get tested and can transmit the virus.
Omicron has become the most infectious form of coronavirus so far. Vaccination is important to alert the immune system to fight against the virus. WHO is not clear whether Omicron is more transmissible or not and can cause more cases or not. According to experts, the symptoms of Omicron are mild than the Delta variant. Meanwhile, the Delta variant is becoming the most dominant variant in the US. If you are vaccinated, then it may decrease the risk of getting affected by the new variant, but still, research is underway.
Vaccination not only helps you fight against the virus but there will be fewer chances for the Covid-19 virus to spread. According to recent reports from South Africa, people who have had Covid-19 are getting infected with the Omicron virus. However, it has been said that vaccines can protect against the virus.
It has not been clear yet how it transmits and whether it is more transmissible than other variants or not. Various people have tested positive with this variant in South Africa. However, still, researchers are conducting studies to know more about this variant.
It is not clear yet whether the variant can cause severe diseases as compared to other variants, including Delta. According to previous data, there are a number of hospitalizations in South Africa, but this may be because several people are getting infected, rather than with a specific infection with Omicron.
PCR tests are still identifying infection, including infection from the Omicron variant. Studies are under progress to know whether there are any effects or any types of tests, including rapid antigen detection tests.
Corticosteroids and IL6 receptor blockers will be considered effective for patients with Covid-19. Other treatments will also be tested to see whether they are effective on the virus in the omicron variant. As everyone knows, omicron is a virus of concern, and WHO suggests countries take actions, including:
- Increase surveillance and sequencing of cases
- Share genetics sequences on databases that are publicly available such as GISAID
- Conduct field investigations and checkups to know if Omicron has different transmissibility, or impacts the effectiveness of vaccinations, diagnostics, etc.
- Countries need to implement public health measures to minimize Covid-19 circulation by using risk analysis and science-based methods.
Symptoms of Omicron Variant
Symptoms of the omicron variant have not been detected yet, according to the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD).
Precautions Everyone Should Take
As per the expert advice, everyone should get vaccinated to protect themselves from severe diseases and the risk of hospitalization. According to real-time data, the vaccination rates also minimize the strain on health systems. With the new variant of the corona, people are afraid of getting infected or having a lockdown again in the country. By wearing a mask, maintaining social distance, and hygiene, the chain of transmission can be stopped.
What will be the Next Step?
Experts suggest improving the existing vaccines to fight against the new variant. Moderna has declared that the Omicron variant vaccine could be delivered next year. The CEO of the company claims to suggest that the current vaccines may be less effective against omicron.
Vaccine manufacturers are already working on Omicron-specific vaccines. As the coronavirus grows and new variants are emerging, vaccines manufacturers have to update or create new vaccines to help fight against the new virus Omicron. It is suggested to everyone that they should get vaccinated to avoid getting affected by Covid-19.