Can Omicron cause more damage than other COVID-19 variants? the latest findings

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Can Omicron cause more damage than other COVID-19 variants? the latest findings

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 Can Omicron cause more damage than other COVID-19 variants? the latest findings
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Highlights

  • The World Health Organisation (WHO) recently flagged the coronavirus strain B.1.1.529 (Omicron).
  • WHO scientists are of the view that the people who previously contracted COVID-19 have an increased risk of reinfection with this variant.
  • Currently, there is no information that suggests that symptoms of this strain are different from other variants.

Omicron is the latest buzzword worldwide after the World Health Organisation (WHO) recently flagged coronavirus strain B.1.1.529 (Omicron). Based on the preliminary evidence, scientists at the WHO are of the view that the people who previously contracted COVID-19 have an increased risk of reinfection with the new variant. It has also been seen that the strain is more transmissible as against the Delta and other variants.

Currently, there is no information that suggests that the symptoms of Omicron.

Image source: OSORIOartist, Shutterstock.com

Currently, there is no information that suggests that symptoms of this strain are different from other variants. Similarly, there is nothing to prove that the variant causes a much more severe disease than any other coronavirus strain. The WHO is also working with technical partners to comprehend the variant’s likely impact on existing vaccines.

As per preliminary data, the rise in hospitalisation in South Africa might be due to a surge in overall numbers of people becoming infected, rather than a result of specific infection due to Omicron.

Omicron variant has over 50 mutations 

The variant was first reported in South Africa on 24 November 2021.

According to scientists, Omicron has nearly 50 mutations. Of these 32 are on the spike protein and half of those are in the receptor-binding domain. The latter is the part that binds to the ACE2 receptor on human cells through which the virus enters the tissues.

Image Source: @Kalkine Media 2021

"Omicron has an unprecedented number of spike mutations, some of which are concerning for their potential impact on the trajectory of the pandemic," the WHO said.

What has WHO recommended?

Image Source: @Kalkine Media 2021

Meanwhile, Omicron has been designated a Variant of Concern by the WHO. The international health organisation has recommended several actions to countries to undertake in the wake of the new variant, including enhancing surveillance and sequencing of cases.

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