We deeply know that the COVID-19 has swept the world since the beginning of 2019, and almost all countries are fighting the epidemic.
With the repeated emergence of epidemics, the virus is constantly changing, and genetic mutations have led to the continuous emergence of new variants of the virus.
According to the WHO report, dozens of mutated virus strains have been discovered, including Alpha, Beta, Delta, etc., which also makes it difficult to fight the epidemic for people.
As the new variant of "Omicron" was first detected in South Africa on the 9th of last month.
Subsequently, the WHO defined it as the fifth "variant of concern" and named it "Omicron" on the 26th.
As some countries have continuously detected cases of Omicron infection, people are also paying more attention to this.
The following content may resolve these questions.
Discovery and prevalence of Omicron mutant strains?
On November 9, 2021, South Africa detected a B.1.1.529 variant of the COVID-19 from a case sample for the first time.
In just 2 weeks, the mutant strain became the absolute dominant mutant strain of the new crown infection cases in Gauteng Province, South Africa, and its growth was rapid.
On November 26, the WHO defined it as the fifth "variant of concern" (VOC), named the Greek letter Omicron (Omicron Variant).
So far, there have monitored the input of this mutant in countries including South Africa; Israel; Belgium; Italy; the UK; Austria; the US; Hong Kong, China, etc.
Possible reasons for the appearance of Omicron mutants?
1. After immunodeficiency patients are infected with the COVID-19, they have undergone a long period of evolution in the body to accumulate a large number of mutations, which are spread by chance.
2. A certain animal group is infected with the COVID-19, the virus undergoes adaptive evolution during the spread of the animal group, the mutation rate is higher than that of humans, and then it overflows and infects humans.
3. The mutant strain has been circulating for a long time in countries or regions where the new Coronavirus genome mutation monitoring is backward. Due to insufficient monitoring capabilities, its evolved intermediate generation virus has not been detected in time.
How easily does Omicron spread?
People often compare "Omicron" with the world's dominant “Delta” variant.
It is not clear whether Omicron is more contagious than other variants including Delta (for example, it is more easily spread from person to person)
According to the WHO, the global overall risk assessment of the mutated strain of the new crown virus Omicron is "VERY HIGH" and may spread widely in the world.
Will Omicron cause more severe illness?
Whether Omicron infection will cause more serious illness is unclear.
Preliminary data indicate that South Africa’s hospitalization rate is rising, but this may be due to an increase in the total number of infections, rather than the result of specific Omicron infections. There is currently no information that the symptoms associated with Omicron are different from those of other variants.
The first reported infections were college students—young people who tend to have milder illnesses—but understanding the severity of Omicron mutations can take days to weeks.
All variants of COVID-19, including the Delta variant that dominates the world, can cause serious illness or death.
What are the symptoms of Omicron?
So far, in South Africa, most people infected are young people with mild symptoms.
There are some suggestions that this variation may cause Delta to experience slightly different symptoms-including pain and pain, and without loss of taste or smell-but it is too early to make a conclusion.
Currently, the WHO states that there is no evidence that Omicron's symptoms are different from those of other variants.
This means that a new cough, fever, and loss of taste or smell are still the three main symptoms that need attention.
Hospitals in South Africa are seeing more and more young people being admitted to hospitals with more severe symptoms-but many have not been vaccinated or received only one dose of the vaccine.
This shows that getting two doses and a booster dose is a good way to prevent diseases caused by the new variant as well as all other variants.
Will vaccines work against Omicron?
Vaccines remain the best public health measure to protect people from COVID-19 infection, slow the spread, and reduce the possibility of new mutations.
They are very effective in preventing serious illness, hospitalization, and death.
Scientists are currently studying Omicron, including how to protect fully vaccinated people from infection, hospitalization, and death.
WHO is also working with technical partners to understand the potential impact of this variant on our existing countermeasures, including vaccines.
Vaccines remain essential to reduce serious illness and death, including targeting the major circulating variant Delta.
Will treatments work against Omicron?
Preliminary evidence suggests there may be an increased risk of reinfection with Omicron (which means that people who have previously had COVID-19 could become reinfected more easily with Omicron), as compared to other variants of concern, but the information is limited.
More information on this will become available in the coming days and weeks.
Corticosteroids and IL6 Receptor Blockers will still be effective for managing patients with severe COVID-19. Other treatments will be assessed to see if they are still as effective given the changes to parts of the virus in the Omicron variant.
How do we preventOmicron?
WHO recommends that countries strengthen the surveillance, reporting, and research of the new coronavirus, and take effective public health measures to stop the spread of the virus; effective infection prevention measures recommended for individuals include keeping a distance of at least 1 meter in public places, wearing masks, opening windows for ventilation, and keeping Clean your hands, cough or sneeze into your elbows or tissues, get vaccinated, etc., and avoid going to poorly ventilated or crowded places.
Compared with other VOC variants, it is currently uncertain whether the Omicron variant has stronger transmission, pathogenicity, and immune escape ability. The relevant research will get preliminary results in the next few weeks.
But what is currently known is that all mutant strains may cause severe illness or death, so preventing the spread of the virus is always the key, and the new crown vaccine is still effective in reducing severe illness and death.
1. Wearing a mask is still an effective way to block the spread of the virus, and it is also applicable to Omicron mutant strains.
Even if the whole course of vaccination and booster vaccination has been completed, it is also necessary to wear masks in indoor public places, public transportation, and other places. In addition, wash your hands frequently and ventilate the room.
2. Do a good job of personal health monitoring. When there are symptoms of suspected new coronary pneumonia, such as fever, cough, shortness of breath, and other symptoms, promptly monitor body temperature and take the initiative to see a doctor.
3. Reduce unnecessary entry and exit. In just a few days, many countries and regions have successively reported the importation of Omicron mutant strains. my country is also facing the risk of importing this mutant strain, and the current global knowledge of this mutant strain is still limited. Therefore, travel to high-risk areas should be minimized, and personal protection during travel should be strengthened to reduce the chance of infection with Omicron mutant strains.
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