What You Need to Know About the Omicron Variant ?

Family Medicine

With the New Year holiday Season here, we excitedly look forward to seeing family members and friends at special gatherings. But with COVID-19 still circulating, it’s important not to let our guards down and give up proven safety measures.

Studies about omicron are ongoing, but here’s what is known so far.

What Do We Know About Omicron?

Omicron was first identified in Botswana on November 11, 2021. The World Health Organization (WHO) labeled it a variant of concern, warning that the worldwide risk is "extremely high" because to its substantial number of variants, including the COVID-19 spike protein with 37 known modifications. The spike protein helps the virus enter our cells more readily.

There are still many areas that require further study. According to the WHO, researchers are currently conducting research on whether there has been a transmission increase, an escalation in severity of cases, and a distinct set of symptoms associated with this variant.

How is Omicron Different From Delta?

The delta variety triggered a number of severe COVID-19 cases in the first part of 2018, prompting another surge of the infection. Though it's impossible to know how dangerous omicron is yet, it has been predicted that it may be highly transmissible. Omicron is far more mutated than the delta variant. It has roughly double the number of changes in the spike protein as did delta, but this does not necessarily indicate that it is twice as infectious or transmissible.

A new omicron variant was discovered in the same month, and doctors have noted an increase in occurrences. Omicron may be responsible for a second wave, which is scheduled to begin in January 2022 and continue through February 2022. So far, the number of omicron cases has not resulted in additional hospitalization rates.

Where Has Omicron Been Detected?

The strange illness, which was first discovered in Botswana three days ago, has now been discovered in South Africa as well. At least 38 nations have been affected, including the United States. Although there are only a few cases, they are expected to rise significantly.

Do COVID-19 Vaccines Protect Against Omicron?

The possibility of the new variant (Omicron) undermining vaccines' effectiveness is a theoretical one. However, vaccines reduce the risk of hospitalization and death, which suggests they may be effective against the Omicron form. To protect from omicron variants, people must take two doses of vaccine and follow Covid-19 recommendations for proper behavior.

There is not enough data yet to understand Omicron’s ability to evade vaccine or a natural infection-induced immune response. Hence, we should continue to enhance coverage in vaccine roll-out so that hospitalization does not increase. Unvaccinated people must take two doses of the vaccine and those who have taken one dose must take the second dose at the earliest.


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