Omicron a new COVID strain: What’s known so far

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The COVID-19 variant scientifically known as B.1.1.529 was not widely known until November 24, when the South African authorities reported it to the World Health Organization. It only took two days to enhance its image and status in the media. There are many mutations in this mutation, some of which are interrelated and found in previous mutations. Preliminary evidence indicates that the risk of re-infection with this variant is increasing, and there are some other problems. According to reports, this variant reproduces at a faster rate and increases the risk of infection.

Since the evening of November 26, 2021, it has been found in South Africa, the Netherlands, Belgium, Israel and Hong Kong. The Dutch country reported that in a sample of passengers from South Africa, approximately 14% were found to have a specific variant of the coronavirus. Media reports stated that the Belgian case was an unvaccinated person from Egypt, but it was reported that an Israeli case had received three doses of the vaccine two months ago. Within 48 hours after the world discovered B.1.1.529 (now known as Omicron), many major governments imposed travel restrictions on Southern Africa. The Omicron variant has not yet appeared in the United States, but the government and provincial authorities have indicated that they are actively following it and will take necessary precautions.

Both Pfizer and Moderna said that if this variant is more resistant to their vaccine than the previous vaccine, they can develop and supply an improved vaccine in about 100 days. Mark Levine, chairman of the New York City Health Commission, called on the city to reopen on Friday. At the same time, New York State Governor Kathy Hochul has declared a state of emergency and stated that although Omicron has not been found in the state, "it is coming soon."

There is no evidence that any clinical variation was found due to this new variation. It is understood that the incidence of B.1.1.529 infection in Gauteng Province, where the fourth wave of epidemics occurred and is rising rapidly in the world, is rising rapidly. This increases the risk of infection, even though it is spread non-invasively and the number of reported cases is small.

Therefore, at this stage we cannot say whether B.1.1.529 is more harmful than the previous variants (such as the delta variant). COVID-19 is more likely to be seen as a serious disease, often endangering the health of the elderly and terminally ill people. However, young people are usually more susceptible to the effects of new variants, and they are usually healthy people. If B.1.1.529 continues to spread, it will increase the severity of the pandemic. Fortunately, all the diagnostic tests that have been tested so far seem to be able to diagnose this new variant. This means that B.1.1.529 can be identified, and we can quickly estimate the proportion of positive cases caused by B.1.1.529 infection in a specific location every day. This is very useful for real-time monitoring of the spread of viruses.



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