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Omicron, the new variant that is now the concern for the world, was at first officially detected in Botswana and South Africa on 11th Nov 2021.
However, the severity of the disease on humans, the rate at which it spreads, and the effectiveness of the current vaccines or any new medicines if available; are yet to be clarified.
As mentioned, the first Omicron case was recognized in South Africa which has witnessed a sharp rise in the number of cases later. As per the brief, the potentiality of the spread of Omicron at a global level is high. The early period of cases doubling is quite higher in the 4th wave when compared to the earlier other 3 waves. Also, Omicron has no difference between already impacted COVID patients and uninfected ones.
Herein, we will discuss what to know about the Omicron variant.
What Is The Omicron Variant?
After around 23 months since the first case of COVID-19 was reported with millions of lives taken and hundreds of millions affected, the world is now challenged again with the newly reported variant of the COVID causing virus, SARS-CoV-2, Omicron. Omicron is reportedly the fifth VoC.
The earlier variants were considered to be controlled with vaccination, but the emergence of new variants of COVID as this asks us to rethink our understanding of COVID and as well as the endgame.
This new Omicron can be detected with the usual PCR tests and can also be very easily distinguished from other variants as a mutation is observed in one of the 3 genes that this PCR test targets. Thus, detection of this virus can be done at a faster rate when compared to the earlier infection surges. With all that said, further what to know about the Omicron variant, needs many more answers, explanations, and proofs with final solutions from the respective scientists itself, as it is the latest virus that has been detected.
Symptoms Of Omicron Variant
The cases reported so far worldwide are still mild. However, as this strain is observed to have more than 30 mutations in its spike, the chances of it escaping the immunity of the vaccine are higher. Irrespective of all this, the Global Health Agency says that the impact of this variant is still mild when compared to the earlier Delta variant of the virus.
Few symptoms that were commonly observed include;
Omicron also causes fatigue or severe exhaustion. Feelings like overtiredness, low energy, strong wanting to rest are the observed symptoms.
2. Mild Fever
While other variants of COVID caused severe fevers, it is observed that the fever in Omicron infected individuals causes gentle temperatures that settle by themselves.
3. Body Aches And Night Sweats
Severe body pains and heavy sweating during nights are observed.
4. Dry Cough
Dry cough is the most common symptom among the other symptoms.
How Does The Omicron Variant Affect The Body?
With the very preliminary limited data available, there is no severe impact of the variant but, it is more infectious compared to the earlier variants. However, additional data is needed before we conclude.
But the preliminary information also alerts that the reinfection with Omicron may cause increased risk compared to the other variants. While the current vaccines are critical in dealing with all the variants so far, studies are being made to understand the impact of the Omicron variant on the current countermeasures like vaccination.
Treatment methods that are currently followed are effective in managing the severity of the Omicron. But further study and its outcome are needed to estimate if the Corticosteroids and IL6 receptor blockers methods are as effective.
Tips To Protect From Omicron Variant
For now, following the same measures that we've used to protect against other COVID-19 causing variants are supposed to be followed till we get further detailed information about the measures. While the delta variant is still the real risk, Omicron is only an uncertain threat. So, following all the safety measures in case you've relaxed, like wearing the mask, avoiding crowds, maintaining proper ventilation is a must for anything worse to be avoided from happening.
For what to know about the Omicron variant, the severity of the infection and the rate of spread is the primary points of concern. Practicing the safety measures, maintaining a healthy and hygienic environment, and consuming immune and healthy food are always some good measures that would protect you from any severity.