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What you need to know about the Omicron COVID variant

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.

A traveler walks by as passengers wait to check in at the United Airlines terminal at O'Hare International Airport in Chicago, November
President Joe Biden introduced journey restrictions to South Africa and several other nations beginning on Nov. 29 in response to the Omicron variant.
REUTERS/Frank Polich

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.

A logo is pictured on the World Health Organization (WHO) headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, November 22, 2017.
The World Health Organization dubbed the new COVID-19 variant as Omicron, skipping over Nu and Xi.
REUTERS

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.

A petrol attendant stands next to a newspaper headline in Pretoria, South Africa, Saturday, Nov. 27, 2021. As the world grapples with the emergence of the new variant of COVID-19, scientists in South Africa — where omicron was first identified — are scrambling to combat its spread across the country.
A petroleum attendant stands subsequent to a newspaper headline in Pretoria, South Africa, on Nov. 27 as the world grapples with the emergence of the Omicron variant.
AP
Medical staffs check nucleic acid test samples in an air-inflated mobile COVID-19 test lab, known as the "Falcon labs", in Guangzhou Gymnasium on June 3, 2021 in Guangzhou, Guangdong Province of China.
The new COVID-19 Omicron variant has about 30 mutations in its spike protein.
China News Service through Getty Ima

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.

A healthcare worker conducts COVID-19 tests for passengers at OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg, South Africa on Nov. 27, 2021.
A healthcare employee conducts COVID-19 checks for passengers at OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg, South Africa on Nov. 27, 2021.
AFP through Getty Images
A healthcare worker conducts a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) Covid-19 test  on a traveller  at OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg on November 27, 2021, after several countries banned flights from South Africa following the discovery of a new Covid-19 variant Omicron. - A flurry of countries around the world have banned ban flights from southern Africa following the discovery of the variant, including the United States, Canada, Australia,Thailand, Brazil and several European countries. The main countries targeted by the shutdown include South Africa, Botswana, eSwatini (Swaziland), Lesotho, Namibia, Zambia, Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe.
A well being care employee conducts a PCR COVID take a look at at OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg on Nov. 27, 2021.
AFP through Getty Images

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.

A passenger is tested for coronavirus at O.R Tambo International Airport in Ekurhuleni, South Africa on Dec. 30, 2020.
A passenger is examined for coronavirus at O.R Tambo International Airport in Ekurhuleni, South Africa final yr.
AFP through Getty Images

With Post wires

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