A new variant of the Covid19 virus has arrived along with a global panic. Characterized as more stringer than the previous variants Alpha and Delta, Omicron Covid has arisen hot discussions. Panic will never help, but the precursory measure will. It will only develop from in-depth analyses and awareness campaigns, which is exactly what we aim through this article. Here we give seven things you should know about the new Omicron variant of Covid19.
Why It Originated In South Africa?
The answer is quite simple. Compared to the other nations, South Africa has the lowest vaccination rates. Only 35% of their population is fully vaccinated. The place where it originated- Botswana- has an even lower vaccination rate. But even though they failed to tackle the widespread of covid19 empowering vaccination policies, the South African authorities identified the new variant and alarmed the world. When the Delta variant originated in India caused serious troubles in Europe and the U.S in a few days, effective precursory measures had taken against the Omicron Covid variant. They have shut down the borders in a quick step to prevent the widespread. It is when many European countries have already spotted the presence of the virus variant.
How does it Differ from Delta or Other Variants?
The main difference that an Omicron variant from other variants of concern is that it has gone through around 50 mutations. Among these, 30 mutations will affect the signature spike protein of previous variants. The previous variants Delta and Beta were also first identified in South Africa. The challenge involved with a mutation is that the spike proteins which are the target of vaccines will get modified. Vaccines make human cells export proteins to make the immune system identify spike proteins and produce anti-biotics. But scientists are still confused with the extent to which these variants have modified their behavior.
Are They Highly Transmissible?
The new variant has urged concerns of a higher rate of transmissibility, especially among young people. As we have already said, the widespread Delta variant first identified in India caused a widespread rise in cases across Europe and the US. It had surpassed the Alpha variant due to its ability to bind to human host cells quicker. It is also applicable in the case of Omicron variants and the scientists are trying to explain the sudden surge in cases in South Africa. The rapid spread of the new Omicron variant in South Africa suggests that it has a higher rate of transmissibility. At the same time, WHO declared that these variants have growth advantages and have detected faster permissibility rates than the previous ones.
Is it More Deadly?
Scientists are trying to find answers to three questions. First, are they mutated enough to resist the vaccines? Second, is it more transmissible compared to the existing variants? And third, is it deadlier than the previous ones? Among 50, 15 mutations of the Omicron Covid variant are in the receptor-binding domain. It is the part of the protein spikes that allow them to host a host receptor. In short, it can be deadlier than the p[previous ones but it will depend upon how the transmutability of it affects various societies that made various levels of precursory measures.
How does it Respond to the Vaccine?
The chances for the Omicron Covid virus to change the spike protein are higher. It means that there is a degree of immune escape for this variant. We can see that those having a natural immunity or immunity from a previous Covid infection should worry. Reports suggest that there is a higher possibility for re-infection. But the chance for the new variant to disarm the protection given by vaccinations is lower even though the level of protection it will provide is under debate.
What are the Symptoms?
The chair of the South African Medical Association Dr. Angelique Coetzee told that the symptoms of the new variants are slightly different from the previous variants Delta and Alpha. Extreme tiredness and body aches are similar to the previous cases. But it is important to note that the victims have a ‘scratchy’ that instead of a sore throat. They also don’t suffer from cough or loss of taste or smell. Anyways, scientists and medical experts are researching the various effects of the new variant on the human body. They are developing strategies to prevent its widespread to the other parts of the world.
Is There Anything to Panic?
Margaret Harris, the spokesperson for the WHO, told that we need to thank Africa to raise the alarming sound. It has already been found across European countries like the U.K, France, Israel, Belgium, Italy, and many other countries around the globe. But most of them took effective measures to prevent the widespread. Travel restrictions or lock-downs are not necessary. WHO has advised countries to take preventive measures as per their epidemiological standards. Still, the Delta variant is responsible for most cases all around the world, authorities must take immediate steps to prevent the new variant from shattering the lives anymore.