Omicron Variant, What We Know – What You Need To Know | WHO

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The new COVID-19 strain, named Omicron variant, was first discovered in South Africa in mid-November. Since then, Omicron cases have been detected in the United States and other countries in the world. As researchers continue to learn more about Omicron, infectious disease experts at the University of California, Davis are answering questions. Although there are still many unknowns about omicron, experts are beginning to learn more about this option and how it affects people who have been vaccinated, unvaccinated, or previously infected with Covid.   

For example, people exposed to omicron get sick faster and may have different symptoms than other options. Early evidence suggests that for most people, at least for those using the latest Covid vaccines, omicron appears to cause a mild illness that may resemble the common cold, another form of coronavirus. Unlike previous options, he says, loss of taste and smell is rare.    

Early evidence is somewhat mixed, but there are indications that omicron symptoms may not be more severe than previous options. There is currently no information to suggest that the symptoms associated with Omicron are different from those of other variants. Preliminary evidence suggests an increased risk of reinfection with Omicron (i.e., people who previously had COVID-19 may be more easily reinfected with Omicron) compared to other options of concern, but information is limited. Scientists are currently studying Omicron, including how fully vaccinated people will be protected from infection, hospitalization, and death.   

The CDC says current vaccines should protect against serious illness, hospitalization, and death due to the omicron variant. More data is needed to know if Omicron infections, especially reinfections and breakthrough infections in fully vaccinated individuals, cause more serious illness or death than infections with other variants. Even though the omicron variant turns out to be more contagious, scientists are confident that existing vaccines will continue to provide protection against serious illness, hospitalization, and death from COVID-19. Experts say vaccines should still protect people from serious Omicron diseases, and the booster vaccine will provide maximum protection, further enhancing the immune response.   

Because the Omicron variant is so new, health experts are unclear about the vaccine’s effectiveness. As with the vaccine, it is unclear whether existing COVID treatments will be less effective against the Omicron variant. In the UK, where many people are protected by two or three doses of the Covid vaccine, some scientists say Omicron may be much milder and less affected. Scientists are cautiously optimistic that existing vaccines will be as effective against omicron as against delta, at least because they prevent illnesses severe enough to require hospitalization.    

Gandhi added that the B cells that confer the immunity produced by the vaccine produce antibodies against the variants and that the T cell immunity that protects against severe disease is robust and should not be at risk of mutations seen in the vaccine. omicron. … This option is able to evade some of the antibodies produced by vaccines or previous infections, Metzger said.    

Although genome sequencing is required to confirm Omicron cases, some PCR tests can detect the distinguishing feature that distinguishes it from Delta. Using a technique known as genomic sequencing, all suspicious test results for Omicron have been analyzed and it has been confirmed that some people have been infected with this variant – and the number is growing. In the United States, it quickly overtook the delta as the dominant option, accounting for more than 73 percent of new cases as of last Friday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported this week.    

New options like Omicron remind us that the COVID-19 pandemic is far from over. Vaccines remain the best public health measure for protecting people from COVID-19, slowing transmission and reducing the likelihood of new options emerging. For other options, such as Delta, the vaccine remains effective in preventing serious illness, hospitalization, and death. The vaccines currently in use in the U.S. were developed against earlier strains of the virus, though health officials say they support vaccines that will eventually need to change, such as an annual flu shot to deal with new options. …    

Moderna, Pfizer-BioNTech and Johnson & Johnson are laboratory testing the efficacy of their existing omicron vaccines based on variant testing protocols developed earlier this year. And some tests could also help health officials speed up the tracking and investigation of Omicron cases.    

Unlike the Delta variant, cases of Omicron disease can result in the same “S-gene target failure” seen in positive tests for Alpha variant infections at the onset of a pandemic. More countries are discovering the Omicron variant, but the ability to quickly sequence viruses from positive COVID-19 tests is concentrated in wealthy countries, which means early data on Omicron’s spread will be skewed. For the first signs of Omicron’s impact on the protection afforded by COVID-19 vaccines, previous infections and medications, scientists will need to test antibodies extracted from human blood against the virus itself, or models designed to resemble Omicron signature mutations.   

Scientists in South Africa and elsewhere are quickly determining whether Omicron may be more dangerous than other options such as Delta, including whether Omicron with an unusually high number of mutations is more or less transmissible…avoiding treatments for COVID and natural or vaccine-induced immunity, or may lead to more serious diseases. While scientists say there is reason to be concerned about the choice, they point out that there’s still a lot we don’t know, including whether the choice is actually more contagious, causes more severe disease, or what it might be . be the consequence of it. Variants based on vaccine effectiveness. It’s likely that this variant has spread unknowingly in other countries, just as previous COVID variants first appeared on scientists’ radars. Fauci told CNN on Friday that scientists are working to find out whether the selection evades immunity, saying its mutation could help hint or predict whether it will.    

While mutations – and new variants – of the virus are expected as it continues to spread, experts say Omicron has more to worry about. When experts considered other options, Jah said, it usually took several months for these strains to become dominant – in other words, the most common strain of the virus spreading in a given area. However, Javid said that we cannot yet be sure that the exponential rise in COVID-19 cases in South Africa is associated with B.1.1.529, but it is likely that there are more cases of the Omicron variant than currently sequenced.    

Of the 30 mutations found in the B.1.1.529 spike protein, several modifications have been identified associated with resistance to antibodies of the COVID-19 vaccine or natural immunity after a previous infection. The Omicron variant also has a gene deletion similar to that found in alpha, beta, gamma, and lambda, which is believed to increase the ability of viruses to evade immune responses


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