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What is known so far about the omicron variant of the coronavirus, already detected in 38 countries

Posted: Dec 4, 2021 05:31 GMT

By presenting a large number of mutations, scientists fear that it may have made the virus more transmittable and weakened the effect of vaccines.

The omicron variant of the coronavirus spreads rapidly across the planet and already has a presence in 38 countries. Meanwhile, experts are still trying to determine how serious the disease it transmits is and whether existing vaccines can protect us from it.

Here we review everything that is known so far in this regard.

Where was it detected?

EU warns omicron variant could cause half of covid infections in coming months

The first detection of the omicron was announced by the South African health authorities last November 25. However, the National Institute of Public Health and Environment of the Netherlands reported this Tuesday that possibly this variant had already arrived in their country before.

Alarmed by the emergence of the new threat, a number of countries rushed to take action and, in an attempt to prevent it from reaching their national territories, restricted flights from the southern African region.

Despite this, the variant has already been confirmed in 38 countries, reported this Friday from the WHO.

Is it more dangerous?

This Monday, the WHO described the general and global risk as “very high” for this reason.

The omicron has a large number of mutations, of which more than 30 are found in the area that encodes the spike protein, which allows it to bind to human cells. This component of the virus is the main target of the antibodies that are produced to fight infection. So scientists fear that such changes may have made the virus more transmissible and weakened the effect of vaccines.

Maria Van Kerkhove, an epidemiologist in charge of the management of the pandemic at the WHO, declared this Friday that “there are indications” that the new variant may have a greater transmissibility, although, she clarified, the information in this regard must be reviewed. In this context, he stressed that the delta continues to be the dominant one throughout the world.

Regarding omicron symptoms, South African doctors noted that patients had milder manifestations that in the case of delta, including coughs, headaches and body aches and fatigue, collects the Financial Times.

Meanwhile, the organization’s spokesman, Christian Lindmeier, said it was still no deaths have been recorded because of the most recent variant.

Can you evade immunity?

A new study from South Africa suggests that the variant has a greater ability to cause re-infection with COVID-19 in people who have recovered from the disease. The analysis is based on information on almost 2.8 million infections detected in South Africa, including more than 35,000 recontagions. The data comes from the country’s health system and was collected between March 4, 2020 and November 27, 2021.

According to the research, which was published this Thursday on the prepress portal medRxiv, the possibility of recontacting with the omicron is approximately 2.4 times higher, compared to other detected variants.

The research looked only at how natural immunity works and does not provide information on how effective existing coronavirus vaccines may be.

Can the omicron variant of the coronavirus displace the delta and become dominant in the world?Can the omicron variant of the coronavirus displace the delta and become dominant in the world?

A booster injection is recommended

Since there are no reliable data on the efficacy of omicron vaccines, the creators of anticovid drugs began to modify them to make them protect in this case as well.

At the same time, some experts emphasize the need to use a booster injection to boost the body’s immunity. In this sense, the chief US epidemiologist, Anthony Fauci, spoke previously this week, referring to the detection of the first case of the new variant in the United States. In his opinion, the definition of ‘complete vaccination’, which until now has meant one inoculation with two doses, could be changed to involve three injections.

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About the author

Donna Miller

Donna is one of the oldest contributors of Gruntstuff and she has a unique perspective with regards to Science which makes her write news from the Science field. She aims to empower the readers with the delivery of apt factual analysis of various news pieces from Science. Donna has 3.5 years of experience in news-based content creation, and she is now an expert at it. She loves journalism, and that is the reason, she moved from a web content writer to a News writer, and she is loving it. She is a fun-loving woman who has very good connections with every team member. She makes the working environment cheerful which improves the team’s work productivity.

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