The discovery of a brand new COVID-19 variant in South Africa this week induced alarm and swift motion from quite a lot of nations together with journey restrictions. Here’s what you need to know about Omicron.
How was this variant discovered?
Scientists checked out virus samples and found the new variant after South African instances started to explode this week after holding at about 200 a day. Cases neared 2,500 on Thursday.
Why is it named Omicron?
The World Health Organization gave it that designation after a letter in the Greek alphabet. The WHO additionally labeled it a variant of concern, the just one to get that designation since Delta emerged in India in late 2020.
Why is Omicron a trigger for concern?
The seemingly excessive variety of mutations — about 30 — in the coronavirus’ spike protein may imply it spreads simply. That is about double the variety of mutations of the Delta variant, and will imply elevated transmissibility. But the significance of the mutations “is still not known,” in accordance to Sharon Peacock, who has led genetic sequencing of COVID-19 in Britain.
Does the Omicron variant make you sicker?
There’s no indication that the variant will trigger a extra extreme sickness. WHO mentioned there was “preliminary evidence” to counsel an elevated danger of reinfection with Omicron for many who have already had the virus as in contrast to different variants. No uncommon signs have been reported with this variant, which may additionally led to asymptomatic instances, in accordance to South Africa’s National Institute for Communicable Diseases.
Will present COVID-19 vaccines work towards the variant?
Scientists say it’s too quickly to inform and that reply will take a number of weeks. One professional, Peter Openshaw, a professor of experimental drugs at Imperial College London, referred to as it “extremely unlikely” that present vaccines wouldn’t work, noting they’re efficient towards quite a few different variants.