Ever since COVID-19 pandemic started, it has given rise to many variants such as the alpha and delta. Now the latest variant is called Omicron. It started in South Africa last month and a lot of studies are being conducted to figure out it’s transmissible and infectious properties.
As we try to find out ways to reduce infection rate such as by vaccination and social distancing, the virus also mutates to survive as long as possible. It is the characteristic of living things to fight for survival. This is exactly what the virus is doing.
The latest studies have shown that the Omicron variant has more than 30 changes in the spike protein. This is the part of the virus which recognizes host cells and is the main target of the immune system. So when the spike protein is changed, there’s no way the immune system can recognize it and protect the body against the virus. However, the change in the spike protein enables the virus to be detected by genotyping tests.
There’s still a lot of research going on since this new variant is highly mutated. Many questions are arising and researchers have given some information.
- The Omicron variant is likely more transmissible than the original virus.
- There’s still the need to find out if this variant is more severe and can cause reinfections or breakthrough infections.
- Although the current vaccines were able to protect against the previous variants, there’s no guarantee that they can protect against this variant. It is also predicted that breakthrough infections in fully vaccinated individuals can likely occur.
In such a case, it’s important to continue wearing mask and observe social distancing. As of 20th December, cases of Omicron variant have been reported in 95 countries worldwide. With Christmas and New Year around the corner, it seems like last year there will be strict restrictions. Already many parties and travel plans have been cancelled due to the continued pandemic.
The best thing to do is to stay at home and interact with as minimum number of people as possible to save ourselves and others. And even if you’re to go out anywhere, ensure to wear a mask and observe social distancing as much as possible.
Have a happy and safe Christmas 🎄🎄🎄