Many forms of corona virus have emerged, of which you may have heard the name of Delta the most. In addition, alpha, beta and many such variants have surfaced. But now as per new report another strain or variant of covid-19 came up that is omicron. So, today we will be telling you about Does the Omicron Variant of COVID-19 Spread Faster.
Viruses keep changing their appearance, causing their new variants. Usually the work pattern of this new variant is very similar to the old one. Once it enters the body, the virus rapidly copies its RNA, thereby increasing its number.
Sometimes when the virus is increasing its number, it accidentally come up wrong by copying the RNA randomly, which is called scientific mutation. This changes its appearance and a new variant emerges.
Now the world is scared of the arrival of a new variant Omicron (Coronavirus Omicron Variant). So it is important to take an overview regarding Omicron vs Delta Covid-19.
Why Did This Variant Omicron Be Named?
Cases of omicron variants have been first observed in South Africa and many other countries. WHO has also warned about this variant which need to concern. This variant or strain is named ‘Omicron’ under the Greek alphabet.
When Did Omicron Variant Start?
According to WHO the omicron variant was first found in 9th November 2021.
What Is The New Strain of Covid-19 Called?
As per WHO the new strain of covid-19 is known as B.1.1.529 and called as Omicron variant.
Is the Omicron variant of Covid-19 more transmissible?
According to the scientists, it has been stated that the mutation of this variant is very fast and very infectious thereby, it has a greater chance of become transmissible. Yet, clear research has till not found, more researches are still going on.
Does the Omicron Variant of Covid-19 Spread Faster?
Will ‘Omicron’ Bring Third Corona Wave?
The scientist has indicated the origin of the third wave from the Omicron variant. Because the Omicron variant of Covid-19 spread 7 times faster than delta. Not only that, spread of this infection from people to people is also fast from Delta Variant.
According to the information, this variant has been muted 32 times before it is identified. Recently, as per the current report of today 2nd December 2021, two cases with omicron variant in Karnataka, India has been found.(1) However, as a precautionary measure, all passengers coming from 13 countries including Singapore will be thoroughly checked.
What is the Difference Between Delta and Omicron?
Origin of Variants.
The Omicron variant was first detected in Botswana (on November 11) and in South Africa three days later, since which increasing number of cases have been reported due to the new Covid-19 variant Omicron.
Meanwhile, the Delta variant was first identified in India in December 2020 as it was swept away rapidly in the country before reaching the United Kingdom and the United States.
According to Yale Medicine, delta variant is currently the major SARS CoV-2 variant, responsible for more than 99 percent of Covid-19 cases.
Global Response about Omicron vs Delta Covid-19.
So far, no one from the Omicron variant has been reported dead, but scientists are remaining alert with the research on this variant. As the delta variant suddenly caused serious deaths due to lack of preparation to fight with the mutation.
While the Delta variant was first identified in India in December 2020, it led to an increase in the number of cases by April 2021, which peaked in May, with most populations being incoherent, the immunity against the variant was low.
However, the global response in the context of Omicron, WHO declared that this variant as a variant of Concern as Omicron variant of Covid-19 spread much faster than other variant. Since then, many countries have banned commuting from South Africa, apart from restarting quarantine.
Vaccination swells with a growing number of people, compared to when delta outbreaks occurred. Meanwhile, those who have tested positive for Delta and recovered have already developed the antibodies needed to fight SARS-CoV-2.
The Difference in Mutation of Omicron vs Delta Covid-19.
Gene sequencing of the Omicron variant showed that it had more mutations than the delta variant of Covid-19. Researchers found 43 AA mutations in omicron type spike proteins compared to 18 found in deltas.
According to Claudia Alteri, professor of clinical microbiology at Milan State University and a researcher at Bambino Gesu, the high number of mutations does not automatically mean that these variations are more dangerous, but that the virus has more adapted to human species by producing them.
Omicron: What Apprehensions Are Being Raised?
The ‘omicron’ spike protein contains more than 30 mutation that, according to experts, make it more infectious and deadly than delta. This means that those who have recovered from the infection may also be affected.
Omicron also has a membrane protein (NSP6) missing which can make it more contagious.
Early studies suggest that the vaccine on this variant is 40 per cent less effective.
What Have Experts Said on ‘Omicron’?
According to Dr. Randeep Guleria, Director, AIIMS Delhi, the variant has more than 30 mutations in the spike protein area, which can also dodge the vaccine. He said that since most vaccines work by creating antibodies against spike proteins, so many changes in the spike protein sector can reduce the effectiveness of Covid-19 vaccines.(2)
Dr. Samiran Panda, senior scientist at the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), said the changes are testing whether the variants will increase their infectious potential or reduce the impact of the vaccine.(3)
Lawrence Young, a virologist at Warwick university, described ‘Omicron’ as the ‘most changed form ever’ of Covid-19, which includes potentially worrying changes that had never been seen in the same virus before.(4)
Is Fear Justified or How Much is Being Created?
So far, neither WHO nor any other health organizations has said anything specifically on ‘Omicron’. Most experts are saying how dangerous ‘omicron’ is, whether it can beat the vaccine or not, there will be more cases than delta… More research is needed to find out about this.
Dr. Saumitra Das, Director, National Institute of Biomedical Sciences said that there is no need to panic. One protein of this variant has about 30 mutations which is very strange. It may be more contagious or have an impact in some other way, but we don’t know about it yet. She also stated that there is nothing to be afraid of, but there is a matter of concern.(5)
Professor Calum Semple, a microbiologist at the UK Government’s Scientific Advisory Group (SAGE), said that omicron is not a major disaster. He said, “This is not a disaster and some of my colleagues have made headlines calling it terrible… I think the situation is being greatly exaggerated.”(6)
Professor Andrew Pollard, director of Oxford Vaccine Group, stated it was “too early” to say the new strain would be able to avoid the current vaccine. He said this will not be known before three weeks.
Sir John Bell, one of the government’s most senior advisers on vaccination, said that the new form of the virus cannot affect vaccinated people more than “runny nose and headaches”.
Professor Sir John, in the Department of Medicine at oxford university, said that even though the new variant can avoid antibodies, it will be less likely to avoid T-cells and other parts of the immune system that provide extensive protection.
Many medical experts in the world, including India, are now pushing for compliance with the verification and Covid protocol.
- Coronavirus live updates: India’s first Omicron cases detected in Karnataka, health ministry says; https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/coronavirus-live-updates-india-and-world-december-2/liveblog/88039431.cms
- Omicron reportedly has 30+ mutations in spike protein region, may bypass vaccines: AIIMS chief; https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/nation/omicron-reportedly-has-30-mutations-in-spike-protein-region-may-bypass-vaccines-aiims-chief-343813
- A third COVID-19 wave can make its appearance felt as early as late August: ICMR epidemiologist Samiran Panda; https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/interview-a-third-covid-19-wave-can-make-its-appearance-felt-as-early-as-late-august-says-dr-samiran-panda/article35390889.ece
- Explained: What we know and don’t know about Omicron variant of Covid-19; https://www.business-standard.com/article/current-affairs/explained-what-we-know-and-don-t-know-about-omicron-variant-of-covid-19-121112901270_1.html
- Important to be alarmed, no need to panic: Expert on COVID ‘Omicron’ variant; https://www.aninews.in/news/national/general-news/important-to-be-alarmed-no-need-to-panic-expert-on-covid-omicron-variant20211128234249/
- Top UK scientist says Omicron ‘not a disaster’, vaccination may protect; https://www.business-standard.com/article/current-affairs/top-uk-scientist-says-omicron-not-a-disaster-vaccination-may-protect-121112700621_1.html