India - How severe is the Omicron variant? South African doc...| MENAFN.COM

Saturday, 22 January 2022 09:09 GMT

India - How severe is the Omicron variant? South African doctor explains


(MENAFN- NewsBytes)

Dr. Angelique Coetzee stated the variant spreads fast but acknowledged it is still early to draw clear conclusions. Omicron is a heavily mutated strain of COVID-19 and currently most prevalent in South Africa. Here are more details on this.

Context Why does this story matter?

Dr. Coetzee's assessment of the strain indicates that while Omicron may be more transmissible, it causes a milder disease than variants like Delta. If that trend continues, it could be good news as the pandemic may be turning into an endemic. An endemic is when a disease is perpetually present in a population but its spread remains limited and predictable.

Details What are the symptoms?

Dr. Coetzee said in an interview the most common symptoms among Omicron patients are fatigue, body aches and pains, malaise, and headache. However, unlike the Delta variant, Omicron does not lead to a loss of smell or taste, a severely blocked nose, or high fever. She added that hospital admissions in South Africa are still low.

Quote 'Vaccines will protect you at this stage'

'For now, we do know that the vaccines will protect you against the disease at this stage because irrespective of age group and co-morbidities, people who have been vaccinated, have had mild disease,' Dr. Coetzee, also the chair of the South African Medical Association, said.

Details What else is known about Omicron?

Omicron (B.1.1.529) has some 50 mutations including over 30 in its spike protein alone. More than 370 cases have been detected in 30 nations so far though the actual could be higher. The World Health Organization (WHO) has classified it as a Variant of Concern. However, it has not been linked to severe disease or death yet. Several studies about it are currently underway.

India 2 Omicron cases in India so far

On Thursday, India confirmed its first two cases of Omicron, both reported from Karnataka. The patients include a 66-year-old South African national who has since left India and a 46-year-old doctor in Bengaluru. The doctor has no international travel history. All their contacts have been traced and are undergoing testing, health officials said at a media briefing.

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