WHO on 26 November 2021 designated variant B.1.1.529 a variant of concern, named OMICRON. Many aspects of Omicron are being studied by researchers in South Africa and around the world, and the findings will be shared as they become available.

Based on early findings, the WHO has stated that Omicron may reduce the efficacy of Covid-19 immunizations, but also stated that this strain is less dangerous than Delta. Human infections with this strain have been identified in 89 countries as of December 15, 2021, and the number of cases is doubling every 1.5 to 3 days in regions with community transmission. 

 

Are infections severe? 

Omicron patients who were once infected with delta variant were reported with symptoms of fatigue, headaches and a little more than racing pulse rates and respiratory problems.

The Omicron version of the SARS-CoV-2 virus is anticipated to spread more quickly than the original SARS-CoV-2 virus, although how quickly Omicron spreads in comparison to Delta is uncertain. According to the World Health Organization, omicron, like other coronavirus variations, can cause serious illness or death in susceptible people.

Even the vaccinated or people with no symptoms are expected to transfer the virus to others, according to the CDC.

 

Do vaccines work?

Research has shown that Omicron can largely, but not completely, evade the antibodies generated in response to the inoculation. A study by Pfizer has also backed this up.

Preliminary evidence, as well as the significantly altered antigenic profile of the Omicron spike protein, suggests a decline in vaccine efficacy against Omicron infection and transmission, WHO said.

Infection with the Omicron variant is predicted to cause severe illness, hospitalizations, and death. Current vaccines are intended to protect against this. Breakthrough infections are more likely to arise in patients who have been fully immunised. Vaccines against other variants, such as Delta, have proven to help reduce severe disease, hospitalizations, and death. The recent emergence of Omicron further emphasizes the importance of vaccination and boosters.

All vaccines appear to offer some level of protection against serious illness, which is the most essential factor. However, only the Pfizer and Moderna vaccinations appear to have an initial success rate of halting infections when followed up with a booster, and these vaccines are not available in most parts of the world. Moderna said on Monday that laboratory research showed that a booster dose of its COVID-19 vaccine was protective against the fast-spreading Omicron variant of the coronavirus and that the current version of the shot will remain its “first line of defence against Omicron.”

 

How other countries are affected by it?

New Zealand’s health authorities say they’ve found evidence that Omicron is the most transmissible Covid-19 form, but they’re not sure how serious it is.

In Singapore, three Covid-19 infections were found in fully vaccinated adults, and Omicron was verified in two of the patients. Vaccine resistance is thought to be higher in the severely mutated variant.

Vaccine resistance is thought to be higher in the severely mutated variant.

In Harris County, Texas, the United States has registered its first Omicron death. The person who died from the new strain was an unvaccinated man with underlying health problems.

According to the health ministry, at least 200 cases of the novel Omicron type have been reported in India so far. With 54 cases each, Maharashtra and Delhi are the states with the most Omicron cases, followed by Telangana (20) and Karnataka (14). (19). On Tuesday, the country saw 5,326 new coronavirus cases and 453 deaths. On Monday, there were almost 8,000 persons who had recovered, bringing the total number of active cases to 79,097.

According to a study in the United Kingdom that has yet to be published, there is no evidence that Omicron is less severe than the Delta strain. The study also discovered that the novel coronavirus variant mostly evades immunity from prior infection or two vaccine doses.

The risk of reinfection with the Omicron variety is 5.4 times higher than with the Delta variant, according to researchers from Imperial College London in the United Kingdom. According to the researchers, this means that the protection against Omicron reinfection provided by the previous infection could be as low as 19%.

 

How To Protect Yourself?

The same way you guard against Covid-19 caused by any other variant: Get vaccinated if you haven’t yet, get a booster if you’re eligible and step up other precautions you may have relaxed, like wearing a mask and avoiding crowds.