Omicron is a new strain of coronavirus that was first discovered quite recently, in November this year, in South Africa. It has already managed to alert both doctors and patients. What is known about the mutation of the virus at the moment? In addition, most importantly, are modern PCR tests capable of detecting omicron?
- ⠀ Why did the omicron appear?
The Sars-CoV-2 coronavirus, like most respiratory infections, mutates rapidly. The more chains of infection are created, the faster the virus multiplies. With each transmission from person to person, there is a possibility of mutation - a kind of breakdown of some part of the virus genome. There are now several thousand strains of the Sars-CoV-2 virus in the world, but only a few significant varieties are distinguished from them - those that differ greatly from each other in properties. For example, the delta strain the Wuhan L strain, the British alpha strain, or the new omicron. According to the law of evolution, that mutation is fixed that gives the virus more advantages - for example, more infectiousness. Weak and non-viable strains disappear naturally.
- What are the symptoms of the omicron strain?
According to South African doctor Angelique Coetzee, none of those infected with omicron experienced a loss of taste or smell. However, they complained of "a strong feeling of fatigue." And in one six-year-old child, doctors recorded an elevated temperature and a rapid pulse, which passed after two days. At the same time, the physician emphasized that people. In general, get sick easily.
- Why is the omicron strain dangerous?
Omicron is still poorly understood. According to preliminary information, it is more infectious than its predecessors. There is also evidence that omicron descends faster into the lungs, causing pneumonia. Another distinctive and potentially dangerous feature is a large number of mutations in that part of the genome that is responsible for the creation of the spike protein. How does it threaten people? In theory, this increases the risk of infection for those who have had the "old model", and may reduce the duration of protection when vaccinated. For this reason, Britain has shortened the booster period to three months.
Omicron spreads in the same way as previous variants of the coronavirus. This means that the precautions must be followed the same:
DO NOT FORGET about social distance, in any place where people gather;
You MUST wear a mask and wash your hands frequently and thoroughly.