The Omicron variant of Covid-19 is highly contagious and have uncommon rise of infections in the whole world. WHO called the Omicron a variant of concern because Omicron variant of covid-19 has several mutations which impacts on its severeness . Omicron is spreading at much faster rate than Delta variant with a doubling time of 2-3 days. Therefore spreading risk of this new variant remains very high than Delta variant.
Omicron variant was first detected in November 2021. Recently, the new wave of Covid-19 variant is detected in many countries including Pakistan.
According to UNICEF, new variants of covid-19 like Omicron gives us an alarm that COVID-19 pandemic is far from over. When any virus is spreading multiple infections at higher rate, the trend of virus mutations also increases. The more a virus spreads, the more diversity it adopts.
Therefore, it is need of the time that people should get vaccinated as early as possible & follow precautionary measures like;
Social distancing, wearing of masks, regular hand wash & proper use of sanitizers.
It is also vital that vaccines should reach everywhere in the under- developing countries like Africa who are at the mercy of Covid-19. Developed countries should deliver the vaccine doses urgently to the lower income countries.
Symptoms of Omicron
The percentage of people having following symptoms of Omicron is:
Chills & fever-30%
Loss of taste-13%
Omicron severity in comparison with other variants:
Early research showed reduced risks of hospitalization of Omicron variant in contrast to Delta variant. But now WHO warns people that Omicron variant should not be taken mild because it spreads more faster than any other variant. It can result in increased hospitalizations that in turn effects front line workers & health care systems and will fasten the death rate.
Detection tests for Omicron:
PCR and antigen-based diagnostic tests detect the infection of Covid-19 & all its variant including Omicron.
According to WHO recent report, it is stated that previous infection of covid offers less protection against Omicron variant in contrast to other variants like Delta. So, people should get vaccination even if they had Covid-19 previously.
Vaccines for Omicron variant:
According to recent WHO reports, currently available vaccines like Pfizer-BioNTech & moderna of United States, Oxford AstraZeneca, Sinovac & Sino pharm (china), Sputnik V provides significant defense to Omicron patients against severe infection & death.
WHO IS WORKING WITH TECHNICAL PARTNERS TO UNDERSTAND THE POTENTIAL IMPACT OF OMICRON ON VACCINE EFFECTIVENESS. CURRENTLY, THE DELTA VARIANT IS DOMINANT WORLDWIDE AND COVID-19 VACCINES ARE HIGHLY EFFECTIVE AT PROTECTING YOU FROM SERIOUS ILLNESS AND DEATH, INCLUDING FROM INFECTION WITH DELTA. RESEARCHERS WILL ASSESS THE PERFORMANCE OF CURRENT VACCINES AGAINST OMICRON AND WILL COMMUNICATE THESE FINDINGS AS SOON AS THEY BECOME AVAILABLE.