Omicron: New COVID-19 variant (B.1.1.529)

Omicron: New COVID-19 variant (B.1.1.529)

Since its development was proclaimed last week, Omicron has kept the world on edge and scientists are rushing to obtain how it varies from different corona variants. How it spreads, its response to vaccines, treatments, its symptoms etc. It has now been discovered in 24 countries, including Britain, Italy, Belgium, the U.S. The World Health Organization has announced Omicron, B.1.1.529, a “SARS-CoV-2 Variant of Concern,” meaning it is at higher risks compared to other virus strains. World Health Organization warned Omicron as a “variant of concern” stating that the global risks it carries are “very high”.  

What is the Omicron variant?

Initial recognised in Botswana and South Africa, this new coronavirus emphasis has provoked interest amidst scientists and public health officials because of a remarkably high number of variations that have the potential to obtain the virus more transmissible and less sensitive to being vaccines.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention person who have tested positive for the variant returned to San Francisco from South Africa on Nov. 22 and declared positive on Nov. 29.

Information about Omicron 

Scientists and researchers in South Africa and around the globe are conducting investigations to learn many phases of Omicron and will continue to share the findings of this knowledge as they become available.  

Transmissibility: It is not yet clear what is the transmissible rate of Omicron compared to other variants, like Delta. But, the number of people testing positive has grown in regions of South Africa hit by this variant.

The severity of disease: The severity of this variant is not clear yet, but the number of people growing infected. All variants of COVID-19, including the Delta variant that is dominant worldwide, can cause severe disease or death. 

Do diagnosis or tests detect Omicron?

Current PCR tests can identify the variant.

Effectiveness of prior SARS-CoV-2 infection 

Preliminary data implies there may be an enhanced chance of reinfection with Omicron compared to other variants of interest, but the data is restricted. 

Effectiveness of vaccines: WHO is operating with technical partners to recognise the potential impact of this variant on vaccines, treatment etc.  

Effectiveness of current tests: The PCR tests continue to detect infection. The impact of other tests like rapid antigen detection tests is yet to learn.