27 Jan 2022

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Omicron variant spreading faster than Covid-19 Virus

Special Report :                           

  OMICRON : 

More contagious and spreads 70 times more than the typical COVID

Omicron virus or also known by its scientific noun (B.1.1.529): SARS-CoV-2 Variant was initially identified in South Africa on November 2021. Later on Pakistan also received its first Omicron patient in December 2021. When the first case of Omicron was identified right after two days the French government imposed restrictions on travelling and has banned New year’s eve celebrations since this virus became a matter of ‘concern’ for WHO.

The fact that this virus has a unique genotype is because Omicron virus has numerous mutations because of these variations it has led concerns regarding the vaccine resistance, immune system evasion and transmissibility. The protein spikes in this variant makes the vaccine ineffective because if we are to compare this strain with prior strains, the rate of transmissibility is much higher than the previous strains.

It is more contagious and spreads 70 times more than the typical COVID. But the penetrating ability of this virus is lesser than the other strains which makes this virus perhaps a reason for a considerable reduction in the risk of hospitalizing a patient carrying Omicron virus.

According to a study from WHO on November 28 2021, “There is currently no information to suggest that symptoms associated with Omicron are different from other variants” but later on they found some unique variations in its mutation which led them to believe that this virus has can cause cough, fatigue and congestion or runny nose.

In some other cases Omicron virus has been believed to be very similar yet very different from all the other variants. Meanwhile, a study released by Imperial College London stated that the risk of reinfection by Omicron was five times higher than the Delta variant; “no evidence” was found of it causing milder infections than Delta, contradicting earlier reports. The symptoms of Omicron has been bifurcated in two parts, most common symptoms and least common symptoms. Most common symptoms consists of fever, cough, tiredness, loss of taste and smell and least common symptoms consists of headaches, diarrhea, and sore throat.

Since its first case which was reported in Botswana, South Africa, there has been a rapid spread of this virus around the globe. Britain have received many cases of Omicron virus even though it is already saturated with Delta variant. After South Africa the second case was identified when a person who was travelling from South Africa to Hong Kong via Qatar.

In other reports the spread of this virus initiated in Europe when a person who was travelling to Belgium from Egypt via Turkey. During the first two weeks of the identification there had been hundreds of cases being reported in all the affected continents. As of December 2 021 there were 80 countries that were being affected by Omicron virus.

According to a report of BBC, Right now United Arab Emirates is leading the global chart in the most vaccinated population with a percentage of 90, with total used doses exceeding the number of 22 million. All the other countries are striving hard to boost their percentage. According to a report from The Guardian News, “US sets new record for daily Covid cases as Omicron spreads across country” This headline appeared when the US reported new 488,000 across the country which makes US the country with highest growth of Omicron. So far, Pakistan has remained unscathed from the larger damage brought by the variant and the government must do all it can to keep things that way.

The precautions for Omicron are just same as those for the typical Covid. There are some necessary SOPs that needs to be followed for every strain. Which are the generic ones. One has to avoid physical contact as much as possible. Using hand sanitizers should be a daily habit, wearing masks at public places and avoid going to crowded places. If someone has identified some symptoms in himself/herself they should quarantine themselves as soon as possible since it’s not them who are at risk but also their friends and family. One should also get the Booster vaccine shot to be extra safe.