As the world reopens after 18-20 months of the Covid-19 pandemic and lockdowns, a new variant of the coronavirus — called Omicron has been identified in South Africa. This new strain has left the scientific community worried. There are 5 factors one should know about this deadly super Covid variant.
1. As per experts, the Omicron variant has many more mutations much more than Delta. Many of the mutations are of concern for immune evasion and transmissibility.
2. Omicron carries a high number of mutations in its spike protein, which plays a key role in the virus’ entry into cells in the human body. It also makes the vaccine ineffective to a great extent.
3. The WHO has said it will take a few weeks to understand the impact of Omiron. Scientists have said it is the most heavily mutated version yet, which means vaccines, which were designed using the original strain from Wuhan in China, may not be as effective.
4. First identified in South Africa this week, the strain has spread to nearby countries, including Botswana. Israel has identified a case of a Covid-19 variant with a large number of mutations “in a person who returned from Malawi”.
5..There are still speculations floating around the variant’s origin. According to Francois Balloux, Director of the London-based UCL Genetics Institute, feels that the new strain ” evolved most likely during a chronic infection.’