LivingWhat makes Ómicron such a dangerous variant?

What makes Ómicron such a dangerous variant?

Many epidemiologists believe that Omicron will shortly become the dominant strain of COVID-19, replacing the Delta variant (which is currently the dominant variant of the coronavirus). This variant is capable of multiplying 70 times faster than Delta within the human respiratory tract.

Although Omicron appears to have some degree of vaccine leakage, the exact extent is unknown, as is the ability of our existing vaccines to prevent serious illness and death in those infected.

Can Omicron re-infect those with some immunity from previous Delta infections? We don’t know this either . We do not know the risk of reinfection with Omicron and the efficacy of existing treatments.

This strain was first identified in South Africa on November 24, 2021 and the first case was detected in the UK on November 27 but it appears that the variant was already present in Western European countries at least a week earlier.

Could it be that Omicron is good as a virus to evade existing vaccines but less virulent than its counterparts? Health experts and scientists are unaware of it at the moment. So many unknowns and its massive infectivity make the scientific community very concerned about this new variant.

According to some projections, in a worst-case scenario, Omicron could infect 500,000 people a day, resulting in 3,875 deaths a day in the United States alone.

What makes Omicron so effective at infecting is the large number of mutations found in its proteins. It is believed to have around 50 genetic mutations, with around 36 in the spike protein, which is the part that allows the virus to attach itself to human cells and work its way inside. Some of the mutations strengthen the virus’s connection to the cell, allowing it to spread more easily.

It is too early to know if the Omicron infection is milder but it is clear that it has changed our plans for the holidays although we may not see any new lockdowns.

 

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