Ómicron: the symptoms of the new variant that puts the world on alert again | Society

Living science in real time has its drawbacks. It is not suitable for the impatient. Laboratory rhythms are usually different from the need for knowledge, especially if a new variant of SARS CoV-2 has up to 30 mutations in its spike alone capable of raising doubts about the effectiveness of current vaccines. That is what worries researchers the most now. Ómicron has been discovered in South Africa. Dr. Angelique Coetzee warned of its existence after sending analysis of a positive case that arrived at her private practice in Pretoria.

“The symptoms are mild. In two weeks we could have a different image, but for now this is how it is,” explained the doctor, who is also president of the South African Medical Association, to the local television channel Enca.

Mutating is part of nature any virus. Your goal is to reach as many guests as possible. Expand as much as you can. For this reason, the variants that have emerged since the beginning of the pandemic have a higher degree of infectivity. They are able to reach more people. The other trend is that they become, in general, less lethal so the symptoms are milder. In other words, the COVID disease would progress in a milder way. This is the theory. For confirmation, we will have to wait because there are still not enough clinical cases to be able to establish a guideline.

“It is known that the theory says that the more a virus mutates, the more mild the disease would progress. Regarding the symptoms, there are still not enough cases to establish a clinical pattern. The necessary time has not passed. We do not know if there will be small variations on the symptoms already known “, remarks Marcos López, president of the Spanish Society of Immunology.

The known symptoms of the coronavirus show a wide variability: tiredness, sore throat and joint, mucus, fever, lack of smell and taste, dry cough, diarrhea and shortness of breath, among others. Marcos López explains that the main concern of the scientific community is to know if current vaccines continue to be effective against Ómicron and emphasizes the importance of tracking: “Now it is essential to be able to analyze the variant and know how it behaves.”

Vaccines and masks are the natural firewalls for the spread of the coronavirus, regardless of its variants. This is the main message of the specialists together with the need to get the vials to developing countries to expand immunization. If not, the new uncertainty scenario raised by Ómicron will be repeated in the future. “The longer we take to vaccinate everyone, we set the ideal scenario for more variants to appear,” says the immunologist.

The short life of Omicron

The discovery of this new variant of the coronavirus, identified as B.1.1.529 and baptized with the Greek letter omicron by the World Health Organization, was announced on Thursday by scientists and health authorities in South Africa, based on samples taken in the middle of November.

The WHO has classified it as a risk variant, although it has negatively criticized the reaction of many European countries when applying travel restrictions to Africa. He also said that “there is still no indication that Ómicron generates more serious cases of COVID”, although it does seem to increase the risk of reinfection, but “it is not yet clear if it is more contagious.”

“The neutralizing role of vaccines in the infection of this variant is being investigated in around thirty laboratories around the world. Let’s see. We have to wait. It has been described a few days ago. The surveillance network will monitor and analyze it. its prevalence. The things that we still have to know about Ómicron are all. It takes time to know if current vaccines protect, “explains immunologist Marcos López.

The American pharmaceutical company Moderna, creator of one of the most widely used vaccines against COVID-19, has placed the hypothetical development of a new injection adapted to the omicron variant for early 2022. “If we have to create a completely new vaccine, that will be at the beginning of 2022, “Moderna’s chief medical officer, Paul Burton, assured in an interview on the BBC.

With all that information on the table, it only remains to wait and promote vaccination worldwide along with maintaining mask measures, social distancing and hand washing, among others. The only good thing at this stage of the pandemic is that experience has taught us to know what works to stop the spread of the virus.

The uncertainty surrounding the omicron variant throws the plans back to normal. / ATLAS


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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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