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Omicron A Highly Transmissible New COVID Variant of Concern Discovered : WHO

Abin Joseph
Abin Joseph
Observing Covid Regulations Is A Must During these Perilious Times

Ever since the end of lockdown restrictions in various country’s people were actually very happy to get back to their lives, however this might actually not last long as a new variant of the Covid Virus has been discovered in the Botswana region of South Africa Africa 

The World Health Organization's (WHO) expert council identified a new variation of the Covid virus now termed as “B.1.1.529” to be a 'variant of concern' on Friday, naming it 'Omicron.' It has been designated as a highly transmissible virus by the WHO, and it has been given the Greek character omicron. The declaration from the United Nations health agency is notable since it is the first time in months that a COVID-19 strain has been designated as such. 

It's worth noting that the B.1.1.529 variant was initially reported to the WHO on November 24 by South Africa. Later, the WHO noted that the finding of the B.1.1.529 variety coincided with a spike in cases in South Africa. 

Current knowledge on Omicron 

Many parts of Omicron are being studied by researchers in South Africa and throughout the world, and the findings will be shared as they become available. 

Transmissibility: It's unclear if Omicron is more transmissible (easier to pass from person to person) than other variations, such as Delta (another type of Covid virus) . In regions of South Africa afflicted by this variation, the number of persons testing positive has increased, although epidemiologic studies are planned to determine if this is due to Omicron or other reasons. 

The new variation features a huge number of mutations, some of which are worrying, according to the WHO. It went on to say that the number of instances of this variety appeared to be rising in practically all of South Africa's provinces. 

According to the WHO, numerous laboratories have reported that one of the three target genes is not identified by one commonly used PCR test, indicating that this test can be used as a marker for this variation. The TAG-VE has also urged the WHO that this variation should be recognized as a Variant of Concern (VOC) based on evidence of a deleterious alteration in Covid-19 epidemiology. WHO has also stated that several research studies are now underway, and the TAG-VE will continue to assess this variation and the new findings will be shared with Member States and the general public as needed. 

Advice by WHO

  • To better understand circulating SARS-CoV-2 mutations, increase monitoring and sequencing activities.

  • Complete genome sequences and accompanying metadata should be submitted to a publicly accessible database, such as GISAID.

  • Initial cases/clusters of VOC infection should be reported to WHO via the IHR process.

  • Perform field investigations and laboratory assessments to improve understanding of the potential impacts of the VOC on COVID-19 epidemiology, severity, the effectiveness of public health and social measures, diagnostic methods, immune responses, antibody neutralisation, or other relevant characteristics, where capacity exists and in coordination with the international community.

WHO has also stated that  The most effective steps individuals can take to reduce the spread of the COVID-19 virus are: 

  • To observe social distancing and maintain a physical distance of 1 metre from others at least 

  • Wear a well-fitting mask; 

  • Open windows to improve ventilation;

  • Avoid poorly ventilated or crowded spaces; 

  • Keep hands clean; cough or sneeze into a bent elbow or tissue

  • Get vaccinated when it’s their turn.  

DISCLAIMER:

All the details that are mentioned in the article have been directly taken from the World Health Organization's Official Website and are not meant to alarm people or farmers but to ensure that people remain alert and observe the necessary precautions to avoid another resurgence of COVID. 

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