Omicron - What You Need to Know About The New Covid-19 Variant

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Another coronavirus variation has surfaced, bringing additional uncertainty and unanswered questions with it. According to reports, Omicron, the new coronavirus variant, has been discovered in more than 40 nations. It's still unknown if the highly altered variant is more contagious or immune to vaccines. The COVID-19 variant Omicron is most likely picked up by a fragment of genetic material from another virus, presumably one that causes the common cold, that was present in the same infected cells. The first case of this variant was confirmed in the US. What we don't know about Omicron is far more significant. At this moment, the majority of information is speculative.

Scientists aren't sure if Omicron is more contagious than other variants, whether it causes more severe illness or supplants Delta as the most common variant. Answers to these questions could take several weeks. This indicates that the virus is more easily transmitted despite causing only moderate or subclinical illness. 

What is Omicron Variant?

The Omicron version of the SARS-CoV-2 virus is likely to spread more quickly than the original SARS-CoV-2 virus, and how quickly Omicron spreads in comparison to Delta is uncertain. Scientists now believe that Omicron will be as contagious as the Delta variant, if not more so, and that this level of contagiousness will put a strain on health-care systems if they are left unchecked. To confirm the origins of Omicron's mutations and their implications on function and transmissibility, more research is needed. There are different theories about whether this latest variant evolved in an animal host. 

After the scientists discovered Omicron in South Africa following a new rise in cases, researchers worldwide have begun finding out how severe it is and whether it will reduce the efficiency of the COVID-19 vaccines. More research is needed to determine whether Omicron infections, particularly reinfections and breakthrough infections in fully vaccinated people, cause more severe illness or mortality than infections with other variants. 

Infection with the Omicron variant is predicted to cause severe hospitalization, death, and sickness. Scientists are, however, convinced that vaccines will continue to protect against severe disease and that the same public health approaches that have been used to combat COVID-19 for the past two years will also work against Omicron. Current vaccines are intended to protect against this. The new appearance of Omicron has highlighted the significance of vaccines and boosters even more. Some medicines are likely to remain helpful despite Omicron's changing genetic make-up, while others may be less successful.

How do you test for Omicron?

You might not be able to detect which variant you have if you take the COVID-19 test. Luckily, the Omicron variant is easily detectable using PCR tests, which can then be validated using genomic sequencing in labs. The majority of PCR testing for detecting COVID-19 in the body is free (COVID tests for international travel are the main exception). So, it's good news that the Omicron variant may now be detected with an existing nose swab test; a blood test or any other procedure is no longer required.

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