A world health organization (WHO) reported the omicron variant a few weeks back. It was classified as Covid-19 Omicron variant of concern based on the clinical reports that it has several mutations that may directly impact its behaviour.
What makes Omicron Variant different from others?
All variants are different from each other in a way. According to the clinical reports, the Omicron variant has numerous mutations, which means the virus acts differently from other circulating variants during the Covid-19 pandemic.
As of now, there is limited information about Covid 19 Omicron variant. Research is still going on to determine if there is a change in how the virus spreads or the complications it causes.
Throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, several disease variants have emerged as the virus, SARS-CoV-2, continue to evolve. Many of its variants have little or no impact on how the virus affects human beings. But others, including Delta and Omicron, can make the coronavirus more transmissible or contagious than the original version of SARS-CoV-2 discovered earlier.
Is Omicron Contagious?
The omicron variant is more likely to spread than the original SAES-CoV-2 virus, and how easily Omicron spreads compared to any other variant is still not understood. According to recent reports, Omicron infection can spread to others even if they are fully vaccinated or don’t have symptoms. More evidence is required to understand if Omicron infections, especially reinfections in fully vaccinated people, cause more severity and mortality than infection with other variants. However, studies suggest that current vaccines can protect against severe infection, hospitalization, and death rate against omicron variant. However, breakthrough infection in those individuals who are completely vaccinated is likely to occur. With other Covid variants such as Delta, vaccines prevented severity, hospitalizations, and deaths. The recent studies on Omicron variants emphasize the importance of vaccines and booster doses.
Do Antiviral medicines still work on Omicron?
Some antiviral medicines work by limiting a virus ability to replicate or reproduce in the body. Remdesvir is the only antiviral medicine currently authorized for emergency use by the food and Drug Administration or FDA to treat the novel coronavirus disease. Two other antiviral medicines are available that are under FDA review to see if they too get approval for the treatment of Covid 19.
What are the Treatments?
Scientists are working on how well existing therapies of coronavirus can work. Based on the several mutations, some treatments are likely to remain effective while others may be less effective. Vaccines remain the most important public health measure to protect against covid19, slow transmission, and reduce the occurrence of new variants emerging.
Importance of Covid Vaccines:
Healthcare experts are investigating the Covid 19 infection and Omicron variant; they identify how protected fully vaccinated people will be against infection, hospitalization, and death. According to recent guidelines, everyone five years and above protect themselves from the novel coronavirus by getting fully vaccinated. It is also recommended that everyone ages 16 years and older get a booster dose after completing their primary vaccination series. After completing the primary series, one is eligible for a booster dose after five to nine months (vary according to a country you live in).
Masks offer protection against all variants, including the Omicron. It is always recommended to wear a clean mask in public, indoor settings where you feel is a high risk of transmission, regardless of vaccination status. Guidelines are also given about masks for people who wish to know what type of mask one should wear depending on their circumstances. Finally, the test can tell you if you are currently infected with the coronavirus.
The Bottom Line
There is evidence that Omicron is spreading more rapidly than any other variant in countries with the documented transmission. The risk associated with the coronavirus variant remains very high. Every individual should follow the guidelines to reduce the risk of Covid 19 infection and Omicron variant.