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What we know so far about Omicron Variant

What is New Coronavirus Omicron Variant; The new variant B.1.1.529 of covid-19, detected for the first time in southern Africa

By Ground report
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Ground Report | New Delhi: What is New Coronavirus Omicron Variant; The new variant B.1.1.529 of covid-19, detected for the first time in southern Africa, was classified on Friday as "worrisome" by the World Health Organization (WHO) and will bear the name "omicron".

What is New Coronavirus Omicron Variant

It is known as B.1.1.529 and stands out because mutations occur in the spike protein. And it is responsible for infecting human cells and that, therefore, the virus thrives in the body.

“Variant B.1.1.529 was first notified to WHO by South Africa on November 24, 2021 (…). This variant has a large number of mutations, some of which are worrisome, " said the group of experts commissioned by the WHO to follow the evolution of covid-19.

Belgium announced on Friday that it was the first European country to have detected a case of the new variant and several countries have already canceled or restricted flights from southern Africa.

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The identification of this potentially highly contagious and multi-mutated new variant of Covid-19 was announced in South Africa on Thursday. A case has been detected in Hong Kong, another in Israel in a person returning from Malawi, and another in Belgium.

The scientific community anxiously awaits the results of the first analyzes of the new variant of covid-19 and especially its degree of resistance to vaccines.

Why is it worrisome?

"This is worrying, and it's the first time I've said it from the delta," British virologist Ravi Gupta said on Twitter about this new variant named omicrón.

On the one hand, it is its genetic characteristics, and on the other, what is happening in the region of South Africa where it appeared.

Based on the experience of the previous variants, it is known that some of these mutations can lead to an enormous transmission capacity and a decrease in the effectiveness of vaccines.

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The other worrying aspect: the number of cases and the percentage of COVID-19 attributed to this strain is increasing very rapidly in the South African province of Gauteng (which includes Pretoria and Johannesburg), where it was initially detected.

It will take "several weeks" to better understand the new variant and find out if it is more transmissible, more dangerous, and more resistant to vaccines, the WHO stressed on Friday.

Can its expansion be prevented?

Less than 24 hours after the presentation of the variant by the South African authorities, several European countries suspended flights from southern Africa. But Belgium has already announced the first case on the continent. This is an unvaccinated person who traveled abroad.

Some scientists call for closing borders with those countries as soon as possible as a precautionary measure, only to reopen them later if fears dissipate.

Delhi CM, Arvind Kejriwal, has asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi to stop flights from those countries affected by a new variant of the coronavirus, the omicron. The tweet comes just before Prime Minister Modi holds a meeting to review the overall Covid-19 situation and the ongoing vaccination campaign.

"I urge the Honorable Prime Minister to stop flights from countries affected by the new variant. With great difficulty, our country has recovered from Corona. We must do everything possible to prevent this new variant from entering India," said the Aam Aadmi Party said on Twitter.

Several countries, including the 27-nation bloc of the European Union, have suspended travel to South African countries, where the omicron variant is believed to have emerged. The first case was detected in Botswana on November 9 and has since spread to Hong Kong, Belgium, and Israel.

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