The coronavirus pandemic has taken the world by storm – be it the economy or healthcare sector. Every passing year, a new variant strikes and after the Delta variant wreaked havoc in the second wave of COVID-19, OMICRON is the newest strain that has taken the world by storm. Now confirmed by the World Health Organisation (WHO) OMICRON variant’s first-ever case was reported in South Africa, followed by similar cases in Hong Kong and Belgium. The health body has now named it a ‘variant of concern’.
In a statement, the WHO said, “Based on the evidence presented indicative of a detrimental change in COVID-19 epidemiology, the TAG-VE has advised WHO that this variant should be designated as a VOC, and the WHO has designated B.1.1.529 as a VOC, named Omicron.”
What are the features of Omicron variant
The National Institute for Communicable Diseases of South Africa stated that there are currently no exceptional symptoms following the transition to B.1.1.529. However, patients infected with Omicron variant do not show symptoms as patients with delta-like variants.
What caution people and individuals should take
The WHO said countries could increase testing and make efforts to better understand SARS-CoV-2. People, on the other hand, should wear full face masks and do handwashing and maintain social distance, ensuring adequate ventilation even inside the house. People should not overcrowd and get vaccinated on time.
કોરોનાના વધુ એક વેરિયન્ટે ગુજરાતમાં દેખા દીધી; ઓમીક્રોન BF7ના 2 શંકાસ્પદ કેસ મળી આવ્યા જેને લઈ તંત્ર અલર્ટ, એરપોર્ટ પર ચીનથી આવતા યાત્રીઓની શરૂ થઈ સઘન તપાસ
How many patients currently have Omicron variant
More than 125 patients of this variant have been found worldwide so far. The highest number of 100 cases was reported in South Africa. In addition, about 10 patients were found in Botswana, two in Hong Kong and one in Israel. However, it is feared to be spreading too fast.
Omicron (B.1.1.529), a new variant of the corona virus, has once again raised concerns in all countries of the world. The WHO (World Health Organization) has also expressed concern about it and has listed it as a Variant of Concern (VoC). Omicron can be even more contagious than the Delta variant. So far, Omicro patients have been found in 15 countries around the world, including South Africa.
According to experts, monoclonal antibodies to Omicron can also weaken the immune response caused by therapy, vaccination or natural infections. The WHO says no specific symptoms have been reported so far, but South Africa’s Dr. Angelique Coetzee was the first to report the COVID-19 omicron variant. According to him, the “unusual but mild” feature of Omicron is being observed. Dr. According to Angelique Coetzee, the characteristics of Omicron are different from those of Delta. Infection with another variant of Corona affected taste and sniffing ability, but this symptom was not seen in Omicron patients. There is also a sore throat but no complaint of cough.
Are symptoms for new Omicron variant any different?
The National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) of South Africa has said that the new variant currently shows, “no unusual symptoms” have been reported, however, like the Delta variant, some individuals are asymptomatic.
Can the new Omicron variant be detected through RT-PCR tests?
Although NICD said deletion within the S gene will help in rapid identification of the variant but “most other targets (including the N and RdRp genes) remain unaffected from specimens tested” Hence it is unlikely that the new variant will affect the overall PCR test sensitivity. “These PCR tests typically detect at least two different SARS-CoV-2 targets, which serves as a backup in the case of a mutation arising in one,” the NICD said.