Omicron (B.1.1.529) SARS-CoV-2 variant
This variant is first reported to WHO from South Africa on 24 th November 2021. The epidemic center is South Africa and the latest of which was predominantly the Delta variant, which has many mutations!
Many labs in South Africa have indicated that the PCR test used widely could not detect the target gene. Now, the countries are asked to do the following:
1. Enhance surveillance and sequencing efforts to understand better circulation of SARS-CoV2 variant.
2. Submit complete genome sequence to public.
As the infection risk is said to be very high individuals are reminded to take measures to reduce their risk of COVID-19, including proven public health and social measures such as masks, hand hygiene, physical distancing, improving ventilation of indoor spaces, avoiding crowded places and getting vaccinations.
One of the South African doctor informed the symptoms include: scratchy throat, extreme tiredness, dry cough with unfamiliar symptoms. Very few had a slightly high temperature. He also added that the Omicron variant were so far very mild and could be treated at home. One of the sample taken from a patient on 18th Nov 2021 reported extremely fatigued for two days with body aches and headache. This is just like normal viral infection. Most of the patients are treated at home he added.
It’s been observed that the variant is affecting people who are of 40 or younger. Many countries have also banned air travel to and from South Africa including US, other European countries and some Asian nations.