On November 26, the World Health Organization (WHO) rated the variant B.1.1.529 as of concernYOU, for its acronym in English) and named it as Omicron. So far, it has already been detected in more than 40 countries. Although it is gaining ground on the planet, scientists warn that there are still several aspects that are unknown, although some certainties have already been determined.
What are the symptoms generated by the Omicron variant
Angelique Coetzee She was the first specialist to characterize Ómicron and was also responsible for giving the first details about the disease expressed with this variant. According to the president of the South African Medical Association, “in the vast majority of cases, those infected have had mild and moderate symptoms”.
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The specialist assured that the tos and the fever they left their place as more common symptoms and that Ómicron manifests with:
- Nuisance in the throat (scratchy sensation)
- Tiredness (fatigue of a different kind for a day or two)
- General discomfort (generalized pain in the body)
When and how did the Ómicron variant arrive in Argentina?
On December 5, the Ministry of Health confirmed the first case of Omicron on the Argentina. It’s a traveler 38 years old, resident of the province of saint Louis, who attended a work event in South Africa and who came back to the country on November 30. As reported, the affected has the complete vaccination scheme and a history of having suffered Covid-19 in March 2021.
The sanitary portfolio also indicated that the affected party carried out a PCR test prior to travel back (via the United States) with result negative and that upon arrival at the Ezeiza International Airport a antigen test, also with result negative. Later, he went home in a rental car, with a driver.
Since his arrival in San Luis, the affected person remained in isolation and the December 2nd was notified that people with whom you shared the event were diagnosed as positiveTherefore, the diagnostic tests were carried out again, both with positive results.
Both the affected and four narrow contacts of this are in isolation, all asymptomatic. “He has no symptoms, not even a headache. He went to be tested because his colleagues who were in South Africa informed him that they were positive for coronavirus, “said the Minister of Health of San Luis, Silvia Sosa Araujo.
Why is Ómicron called like this?
Since the WHO defined the use of the letters of the Greek alphabet to name the variants of Covid-19 to avoid prejudice and discrimination, 13 names were available for these mutations, although with two jumps. In only two categories these nicknames apply: Variants of Concern (VOC) and Variants of Interest (VOI)). Currently, five correspond to the first and alone two to the second. The rest were “under alert and surveillance” or were removed from international scientific attention.
Nevertheless, After respecting the first 12 letters of the Greek alphabet, when variant B.1.1.529 was to be named, they found themselves at a crossroads, since the thirteenth letter is nu and the next is xi. As it transpired, the specialists defined to ignore them because, for the first case, its pronunciation was very similar to the sound of the English word new (new, in Spanish) and the second could be confused with one of the common surnames in China: Xi. To maintain order, if new variants emerge, they could be named as: pi, ro, sigma, tau, ipsilon, fi, ji, psi and omega.
In which countries was the Omicron variant already detected?
The first isolation of the new variant was reported on November 11 in Botswana. The next was on November 14 in South Africa. As of December 5, Ómicron was already present in countries of Africa, Asia, Oceania and at least 17 nations of the European Union, and more than 15 regions of USA; in addition to Canada and Mexico.
While at the regional level, imported cases have been reported in Brazil and Chile. Most of the infections that were detected are related to travelers, but in some regions they admitted a possible community spread.
Between the countries that admitted Omicron cases They are: South Africa, Botswana, Swaziland, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia Zambia, Zimbabwe, Spain, United Kingdom, Israel, Denmark, Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Italy, France, Portugal, Norway, Austria, Sweden, Finland, Switzerland, Iceland, Russia, Romania, Czech Republic, Ireland, Luxembourg, Tunisia, Senegal, Nigeria, Ghana, Australia, Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong, India, Thailand, Singapore, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Sri Lanka and Malaysia, among others.
What are the differences that Ómicron has with other variants
Although it is still under analysis, the scientists determined that Ómicron has 55 mutations with respect to the original Wuhan virus, being that 32 of these are in the spike protein (Spike o S), the one responsible for clinging to the cell and infecting it. It is for this reason that specialists warned that it is possible that this variant bypasses immunity.
Read also: The Minister of Health of San Luis spoke about the first case of Ómicron in Argentina: “He has no symptoms, not even a headache”
In that sense, Maria Van Kerkhove, epidemiologist responsible for the management of the pandemic in the WHO, he warned that there are indications that Ómicron has a higher transmissibility, although he noted that it is not clear if it is more transmissible compared to other variants, including Delta. “Even if we have a large number of cases that are moderate, some of these individuals will need to be hospitalized, enter intensive care and some will die”, said the specialist and highlighted that “preliminary evidence suggests there may be an increased risk of reinfection (cured that re-infected) ”.
With regard to severity, the medical reference of the USA, Anthony Fauci, affirmed that the first indications indicate that it would be less dangerous than the Delta. “So far, it doesn’t seem like it has a very high degree of severity,” he said, adding: “We have to be really careful before making any determination that it is less serious, or that it doesn’t really cause serious illness.”