The World Health Organization (WHO), on Friday, classified the new coronavirus variant named Omicron as a variant of concern. This new variant of Covid was first discovered in South Africa, and according to the latest reports, infections are confirmed in countries like Hong Kong, Israel, and Belgium. Medical experts believe that the new Omicron variant could evade the immunity offered by Covid vaccines, and if it happens, the world could once again witness a complete shutdown.
Omicron variant of Covid: Nightmare after Delta
It was the Delta variant of Covid that wreaked havoc in many countries like India and the United States. And now, with the emergence of the Omicron variant which has a very unusual constellation of mutations, the transmissibility and immune escape capability are expected to be much higher than previous variants of Covid.
"More investigations are underway to determine the possible impact of these mutations on the capacity of the virus to transmit more efficiently, to impact vaccine effectiveness and evade the immune response, and/or to cause more severe or milder disease," said the Africa Centers for Disease Control (CDC).
More time is needed to understand the Omicron variant
WHO recently revealed that they do not know much about the Omicron variant yet, as there are only less than 100 genome sequencing available as of now.
"This variant has been detected and reported to us by our colleagues in South Africa. There are fewer than 100 whole-genome sequences that are available. We do not know very much about this yet. What we do know is that his variant has a large number of mutations. And the concern is that when you have so many mutations, it can have an impact on how the virus behaves," said Maria Van Kerkohove, Covid-19 Technical Lead at WHO.
Symptoms of Omicron variant infection
The symptoms of Omicron variant infection are very similar to that of the Delta variant infection. People who get infected with the Omicron variant will develop symptoms like cough, fever, throat pain, and in some cases skin rashes. However, there are cases where people are asymptomatic towards the infection.
Even though vaccination remains critical, it is still unclear how jabs will work against the new Omicron variant. Medical experts believe that proper usage of masks and effective social distancing measures should be followed to combat the spread of the Omicron variant of Covid.