What is the Omicron variant?

As the coronavirus pandemic continues to claim the lives of countless people, the World Health Association has warned of a new variant that could make its way into the United States.

It is thought that it has more mutations than the Delta variant and can be deadly.

Omicron is the latest Covid-19 variant


Omicron is the latest Covid-19 variant

What is the Omicron variant?

The Omicron variant (B.1.1.529) is the latest Covid-19 variant that worries many people.

WHO first reported on the new strain of virus on 24 November 2021, after a case was reported in South Africa earlier this month, later calling it a “worrying variant” and evidence initially “shows an increased risk of reinfection.”

Experts met to evaluate the new variant on Friday but it is still unclear how dangerous it is.

According to the report, the new strain has many mutations in the mutant protein of the virus.

At this time, it is believed to be in 5 countries after Belgium detected its first case on 26 November from an unvaccinated person returning from abroad, marking the first case in Europe.

But the Omicron Covid variant “is not a disaster” and some may be “over-exaggerating the situation”, says a scientist advising the government.

But Professor Calum Semple, a microbiologist, said vaccines “still have the potential to protect you from serious illness”.

However, Professor Semple supports the UK’s new travel restrictions, saying they will allow more people to be allowed to travel.

Asked if people should fear the new variant, Professor Semple – who sits on the UK government’s Scientific Advisory Group on Emergens – told BBC Breakfast: “This is no must have been a disaster, and headlines from some of my colleagues saying ‘this is horrible’ I think is exaggerating the situation.

What did Joe Biden say about Omicron?

Due to the new variant, the United States has restricted travel from South Africa, as well as Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Lesotho, Eswatini, Mozambique and Malawi, according to a White House statement.

President Joe Biden later issued a statement saying: “Policy has been exercised with caution in light of the novel COVID-19 variant circulating in South Africa.”

Adding, “… Our scientists and public health officials are working rapidly to learn more about this variant.”

At this time, the travel restrictions will not affect US citizens or permanent residents.

Moderna, Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson are conducting trials to see how effective their vaccines are.


Moderna, Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson are conducting trials to see how effective their vaccines are.Credit: AFP

Do current vaccines protect against Omicron?

As of November 2021, there are three Covid-19 vaccines approved by the Food and Drug Administration: Moderna, Johnson & Johnson, and Pfizer.

At this time, it is not clear whether any of these vaccines protect against the new variant, however, it is still being strongly recommended for those who are eligible for the vaccine. injection and booster injection.

Following the WHO’s announcement, Pfizer revealed that it was testing a vaccine against the strain but could also produce a new vaccine for it in “about 100 days,” after government approval.

Moderna has also conducted trials to determine how effective the vaccine is against Omicron.

Moderna chief executive Stéphane Bancel said: “We have said from the outset that as we seek to defeat the pandemic, we must be proactive as the virus evolves. Business line.

“Mutations in the Omicron variant are of interest and within a few days we moved as quickly as possible to execute our strategy to address this variant,” continued Bancel.

“We have three lines of defense that we are running in tandem: we evaluated a higher dose of mRNA-1273 (100 µg) booster, second, we studied two multiple booster candidates. in-clinic chemotherapy is designed to predict mutations such as those already present in the Omicron variant and data is expected in the coming weeks, and third, we are rapidly improving a candidate Omicron-specific booster (mRNA-1273,529). ”

Johnson & Johnson is also conducting close testing and monitoring of this new vaccine.

Belgium detects first case of new coronavirus variant in Europe

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Tom Vazquez

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