Omicron variant: What are the factors of COVID-19 variant to be concerned about?


(NewsNation Now) – As the omicron variant continues to be detected worldwide, this is not the first time a coronavirus variant has raised alarm bells in the global medical community.

But how long before these alarm bells turn into something of global health significance? Here’s what you need to know.

27 COVID-19 variants have been tracked by the World Health Organization, but only 5 of them are of great concern.

Alpha, beta, delta, gamma and omicron are five variants of interest as described by WHO. A variant of concern means that it has increased transmissibility, increased severity, and/or a significant impact on global health.

So far, the delta variant appears to be the only one that has overwhelmed global healthcare systems. In June, delta replaced other variants as the dominant line.

WHO also monitors variants of interest. NS Variants that are of interest to WHO – present lamba and mu – has been determined to exhibit “genetic changes predicted or known to affect virus properties,” including transmissibility, immune escape, severity disease or resistance to treatment. If there are changes to the virus that mean it is potentially more harmful, it is designated as a variant of concern.

Many mutations were downgraded because they ultimately did not affect the global health system despite being more transmissible or causing more severe infections.

Variants such as epsilon emerging in the US with significant transmissibility have been seen in some global cases and are not directly associated with more severe disease. The Epsilon has now been downgraded to a “previously supervised variant”.

One of the things that causes this concern for omicrons is that it appears to be more transmissible. But there are still a lot of unknowns about variations.

Oklahoma State epidemiologist Jolianne Stone made the following statement:

“OSDH continuously monitors all COVID-19 variants, including the recently identified Omicron variant, to better assess the current and future state of the pandemic and its potential impact. for the Oklahomans. At this time, no cases of the Omicron variant have been reported in our state.

Based on what we currently know, the currently available COVID-19 vaccine continues to be the best tool in preventing severe cases of the virus and emerging variants. We encourage all eligible Oklahomans to get vaccinated and consider a booster shot for extra protection.

We are more prepared than ever to respond to emerging variants with the many tools and resources available to us, including early detection of COVID-19 variants through genetic sequencing. . The OSDH Public Health Laboratory conducts sequencing as a surveillance tool to identify variants within the state, and we prepare sequences for the Omicron variant. To help assess the impact of COVID-19 in our community, and identify new variants like Omicron early, we encourage Oklahomans to get tested for COVID-19 if they feel sick.

Our team is liaising with public health experts in the country for updates on this new variant and its potential impact in the state. As more information becomes available, we will update the Oklahomans. ”

Stone said in a statement. Omicron variant: What are the factors of COVID-19 variant to be concerned about?

Dais Johnston

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