Are you worried about the emerging tension regarding the new coronavirus variant “OMICRON”? Read this article to have all the required knowledge concerning what exactly the new variant is, the severity of the new variant, its transmissibility, and how inconsistent it can be as compared to the other coronavirus variability. Find out how vaccines can protect against this upcoming threat and how effective are the tests, vaccines and the health care treatments. It is crucial for everyone to have detailed knowledge about the new variant of coronavirus to prepare for the upcoming concern.
What is Omicron Variant and What are its Major Concerns?
Discovered in the month of November 2021, Omicron or formerly known as B. 1.1.529- the new variant of coronavirus is turning out to be the most distressing matter of concern for the people all over the world. This new variant was first observed in South Africa on 24th November this year, since then it has been a controversial topic. This new variant has shown a huge transformation in its structure from the past few weeks, which is really a big concern for mankind. Reportedly, scientists noticed that the mutations of this new variant are more than 50, especially on the ‘S’ or ‘peplomer’ protein (viral membrane protein that facilitates entry of other cells), which can easily attack the immune system.
Symptoms of Omicron Variant:
The following are the symptoms of the new omicron variant of the coronavirus:
- Sore throat
- Headache and body pain
- Loss of taste and smell
Mutations of the Omicron Variant:
Based on the number of its mutations, along with a widespread transmissibility in South Africa, the World Health Organization (WHO) has declared it as “Variant of Concern” (VoC) on 26th November 2021. As stated by the WHO, this new variant is a warning of global risk, as its impact can be very dangerous. The research suggests that the mutations are highly transmissible and might even evade the efficacy of the vaccines.
How is Omicron Different from Other Covid Variants?
Since its discovery in South Africa, Omicron has been widely spreading in more than 80 countries including India. Reportedly, it is two to three times more likely to outspread as Delta covid-19 variant. According to the researchers, this VoC is doubling every two to four days, which is a bare minimum time for the Delta variant to double. It is still unknown why Omicron is so quickly outspreading as a global threat. Some possibilities may be stated, in this regard:
- It may easily occupy the cells.
- It may have the capacity to multiply itself once it invades the cells.
- It may have the Spike protein which is a viral protein.
Can Vaccines Protect Us Against Omicron, The VoC?
Based on several reports and studies, researchers have indicated that double dose of vaccines as well as a booster shot for covid-19 can provide a strong protection against the major infection of Omicron or formerly known B.1.1.529. However, only two doses of vaccines without any booster shot may have much lesser protection from the infection.
Reports suggest that scientists have experimented by mixing antibodies from fully vaccinated humans with the Omicron variant in a cell-culture dish loaded with human cells. And the vaccines that were prepared so far have not been able to neutralize the infection of the Omicron as compared to other variants. But tested antibodies from people who got the boosters have a different outcome. Studies shows, antibodies that are boosted can block many Omicron variant from invading the human cells.
What Are The Outcomes of The Current Tests For Detecting Omicron?
RT-PCR test is the most commonly used and highly accepted method for diagnosing SARS-Cov-2 Variant. This test can detect many viral proteins or viruses, like Spike protein (S), Enveloped virus (E), or Nucleocapsid virus (N) etc. in order to confirm their presence. It must be noted that in this case of the new variant- Omicron, the S protein is highly mutable, so it can create a very worse situation in the world, if not taken seriously.
Precautions That You Can Take For Fighting Against The Infection:
The precautions and safety measures that are required to be followed remain the same as before.
- It is very much necessary to wear a mask before you step outside.
- Social distance should be maintained strictly.
- You should never forget to sanitize yourself after coming into contact with other people or things.
- If you are not fully vaccinated yet, then it is high time to receive your doses of vaccines.
How is India Preparing For The Omicron Variant Outbreak?
The government of India is continually observing the current situations of Omicron over the country. In fact, the monitoring process is being done very closely and from time to time, following all the guidelines. Observing the current threat of Omicron, the Union Health Ministry has issued new guidelines for the international travelers, as listed below:
- The new guideline says that international travelers from abroad have to give information regarding their travel history at least for the last 14 days.
- It has been also added that before commencing any journey, all the international passengers from abroad must show their negative RT-PCR test report or put up the report on the Air Suvidha portal.
Twelve different countries have been marked by the Indian government for having high risks and different guidelines are issued for the travelers coming from these twelve countries. These twelve countries that are considered as high risk zones are listed below:
- United Kingdom
- South Africa
- Hong Kong
- New Zealand
A beneficiary guide for the new strain of the Coronavirus, Omicron, has been provided. Omicron symptoms, testing, mutations, vaccine efficacy, precautions, etc have been mentioned to provide a one-stop for all the details regarding the covid-19 variant.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
1. Can the Omicron Variant Lead to a Third Wave of the Coronavirus in India?
Ans. An increase in the vaccination rates can prevent the severity of the harm that was caused in the first two waves of the Coronavirus to occur in the possible third wave.
2. Are the Vaccinated Also at Risk for Omicron Variant?
Ans. The increase in infection rate among the vaccinated across the globe shows that they are also at risk.
3. Can Vaccine Boosters Prevent Omicron Transmission?
Ans. Latest studies by different vaccine manufacturers show that booster doses can indeed help in stopping the spread of the Omicron strain.