What We Know So Far About New B.1.1.529 ‘Omicron’ COVID Variant

South African scientists spot a new version of the coronavirus this week. The WHO classified it as a “variant of concern” in a statement, naming it “omicron” after a letter in the Greek alphabet.

According to WHO this variant has an “extremely high” number of mutations. It is quickly spreading across South Africa. There are approximately 100 cases in South Africa, Hong Kong, Israel, and Botswana.

Initially, this was found in Botswana at the start of November, after that, it travels to Hong Kong from South Africa. Scientists are also trying to figure out whether the variant can bypass immune responses triggered by vaccines. Whether it causes more or less severe disease than other variants?

This is an alarming situation for the world as the EU and Britain close the borders with South Africa. Here in this blog, we are going to share all information that we know so far about this new variant.

What is the new Omicron COVID Variant?

According to scientists, the omicron has an unusual constellation of mutations that’s mean it is fastly spreading and destroys the body’s immunity.

As this variant is quite different from the original coronavirus so this there is a chance that the available vaccine does not work against it.

The actual risks posed by Omicron are unknown. However, initial evidence suggests that it has a higher risk of reinfection than other highly transmissible variants, as per WHO.

This means that people who contracted Covid-19 and recovered could be at risk of contracting it again. It may take weeks to determine whether current vaccines are less effective against it.

Watch this video to get more about the omicron covid variant:

What is different about Omicron/B.1.1.529?

Tom Peacock, a virologist at the Imperial Department of Infectious Diseases in the United Kingdom, tweeted that he had discovered a “very small cluster of a variant associated with Southern Africa with very long branch length and really awful Spike mutation profile.”

According to the WHO, it will take several weeks to understand the impact of the variant, as if it is dangerous like delta and beta variant.

This variant contains a large number of mutations, some of which are potentially harmful. Early studies showed that this variant has a higher risk of reinfection than other VOCs.

Where has Omicron been detected so far?

After South Africa, UK Germany, and Italy report fresh cases of the omicron variant.

Europe reporting several cases, including two in the United Kingdom, two in Germany, one in Belgium, and another in Italy, as well as a suspected case in the Czech Republic.

Israel also confirms the cases of the new variant, decided to ban all foreigners from entering the country from tonight.

The first case of the new omicron variant was reported in South Africa on 24 November 2021.

According to a scientist, the new B.1.1.529 variant stops the body’s immunity from responding and makes it easier to transfer from one and another. It may take weeks to know if the current vaccine is effective or not.

What are the new restrictions?

The United States, Canada, Russia, and a number of other countries joined the European Union (EU) in restricting travel for visitors from South Africa, where the variant caused a new wave of infections.

From 29 November, the US and more than seven counties are restricting travel from south Africa.

Saudi Arabia stopped flights from South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Lesotho, and Eswatini on Friday.

Kuwait also suspended direct flights from nine African countries, according to the cabinet.

Pakistan bans entry from six southern African countries, as well as Hong Kong, on Saturday, citing a “threat” from the new COVID-19 variant Omicron.

NCOC also requests the nation to follow the covid-19 precautionary measure of beating the new variant.

The new variant also shows the ignorance of the world towards a covid-19 vaccine. Despite the fact that many developed countries are providing third-dose boosters, according to medical and human rights organizations, less than 7% of people in low-income countries have received their first COVID-19 shot.

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