NO: DELENG / 2017 / 70663
official media partner of national maritime foundation
Omicron Coronavirus- Variant of Concern- A new threat to the world.

In 1869, British naturalist Charles Darwin, suggested that organisms which best adjust to their environment are the most successful in surviving and reproducing. He popularized the concept of survival of the fittest as a mechanism underlying the natural selection that drives the evolution of life.

Organisms with genes better suited to the environment are selected for survival and pass them to the next generation. SARS-CoV-2 is a classic example which is trying to survive and is undergoing mutation. When a virus undergoes a lot of mutation, it is called as a “Variant of Concern”. This corona virus has undergone a large number of mutations, and early evidence suggests an increased reinfection risk. This is now labelled by WHO as the OMICRON (B.1.1.529) variant of Corona Virus.

It was first reported to the WHO from South Africa on 24 November, and has since then has become the major strain all over the world.

This new variant, B.1.1.529 seems to spread very quickly and is possibly 500% more infectious. Also, it has more than twice the number of bad spike mutations than Delta.

While scientists suspect it to be more infectious, it is not yet certain whether the illness caused by it would be more lethal, leading to a greater number of patients dying.

The clinical symptoms reported from patients suggest that it’s a mild disease, withsymptoms being sore throat, dry cough, sore muscles and tiredness for a day or two not feeling well. So far, those infected do not suffer loss of taste or smell. They might have a slight cough. There are no prominent symptoms. Of those infected most are being currently being treated at home and hospitalisation is not necessary.

90% of the current cases are most probably due to Omicron virus and most of the patients have mild symptoms which are mainly upper respiratory tract infection either because of low virulence of the mutant Omicron strain or because of immunity induced by vaccine/past infection is still not known.

Vaccine does not prevent Omicron infection but seems to protect severity/hospital admissions.  Omicron rarely affects Lungs and hence 70% less chance of admissions. The general public should not take any unnecessary medicines specially steroids during the first five days of the infection.

The effectivity of Covid-19 vaccine against Omicron variant is still being studied by scientists. Current vaccines are not an ideal match so might not work quite as well, say experts.But that doesn't mean they'll offer zero protection.

Vaccines are still very effective at protecting lives by cutting the risk of severe illness against other major Covid variants, including Delta, Alpha, Beta and Gamma.

The treatment remains the same, One needs to maintain the fluid intake and monitor the oxygen saturation by doing the 6 minutes walk test. If the oxygen saturation drops below 93% after the 6MWT, one needs to get admitted for oxygen therapy. No steroids to be administered in first five days of the infection, as the virus is still replicating and starting steroids during first five days will not benefit and only worsen the disease.Similarly no CT Scan chest or blood tests are needed in first five days of the infection, unless and until patient is breathless or getting high temperature.

Let us prevent this tsunami from happening, by preventing the spread of the covid virus,which can be reduced by wearing a mask, maintaining social distance and a good hand hygiene.