As we go through the global pandemic, we discover that the Covid virus is constantly evolving as it infects more people.
Every now and then, new variants of the virus emerges and this will warrant closer observation of how it operates to avoid and uncontrollable outcome. The Omicron strain is latest variant of the virus known to man following DELTA, GAMMA, BETA, AND ALPHA strains.
RT-PCR test via nasal swab can detect the Omicron Strain. For further analysis this nasal swab sample can be sent to diagnostic labs . This analysis can reveal the structure of the Omicron variant.
What is a variant?
When a human cell is infected by the corona virus, it occasionally makes tiny copying errors which are also known as mutations. Viruses are known to constantly change through mutation and when a virus has more than one new mutations, it’s referred to as a variant of the original virus.
What’s the Omicron variant?
Scientists first discovered the Omicron variant of the Covid 19 virus in South Africa on 24 November 2021. The virus was named after the 15th letter of the Greek alphabet and they are considering it to be a variant of concern.
The Omicron variant carries about 50 mutations which have not been seen in combination before. At least 30 of these mutations are found on the spike protein – which ensure the viral entry into the human cells by first interacting with molecules on the exterior cell surface and then fusing itself with the human cellular membranes.
Omicron spike protein has several mutations that are thought to make the virus more infectious. A recent research by Cele et al. proves that Omicron, is not neutralized by the antibodies present in the Pfizer vaccine. In other words, the two-dose regimen of the Pfizer vaccine will not protect against Omicron.
Pfizer claims in a recent press release that three doses of the Pfizer vaccine will offer sufficient protection against the Omicron strain. Unfortunately, the data to strengthen this claim is currently unavailable (at the time if this publication). Until then, there is a possibility that the three doses will still be insufficient in protecting against this new variant.
THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE VARIANT
1. Reports suggests that people infected with the Omicron variant have similar symptoms like flu, fatigue and body aches related symptoms
2. It is not currently known if the Omicron variant is more severe than other strains of COVID-19, including the Delta strain
3. It is not yet clear whether Omicron can spread more easily from person to person compared to other variants. Although the mode of spread is the same
4. The widely used PCR tests continue to detect infection of COVID-19, including Omicron.
It is important to remember that all variants of COVID-19 can cause severe disease or death. That is why preventing the spread of the virus and reducing your risk of exposure to the virus is so important.
The best way to stop the spread of COVID -19 remains:
- Practice socially distancing at public gatherings, staying at least 1 meter from others;
- Wear a well-fitting mask;
- Open windows to improve ventilation within a room or house
- Avoid poorly ventilated or crowded spaces
- Keep hands clean (Wash with soap and running water for at least 30seconds
- cough or sneeze into a bent elbow or tissue,
- Get vaccinated when it’s your turn
- when you have symptoms of COVID -19 go for a PCR Test
- Keep your health updated with regular health checkups
Don’t forget that you can always book a test on our website at www.bookings.afriglogalmedicare.com or contact us on 016291000 or 016290998 to book an appointment