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Why is the COVID-19 variant Omicron concerning?

The world has been awakened by emerging news of the fast-spreading COVID-19 new variant known as Omicron that has been found by Scientists in Botswana and South Africa. The World Health Organization has categorized Omicron variant as a variant of concern in November 2021. Up to date, the number of positive Omicron cases has been increasing vastly across the globe. The sequel of the pandemic events has triggered more fear by the media domination. Get to know Jenis vaksin covid 19 in more detail to prevent yourself from being infected with the COVID-19 virus. In fact, according to the Ministry of Health Malaysia, based on the data of a preliminary study has shown COVID-19 booster vaccination provides better protection against the omicron variant and if they were still infected, the vaccine provides significant protection against developing severe disease which required hospitalizations.

In Malaysia, 186 new Omicron variant cases were reported between 14 to 18 January 2022 that have been confirmed by genomic sequencing. Virologists have been perplexed with the complexity of the virus spread which is beyond the sphere of human knowledge. In order to understand the mechanism of the virus attack, structure, and genetics required a thorough epidemiology and molecular biology studies. The scientists have been vigorously working to know more about the variant mode of actions, transmissibility, severity, and potentially prevent the next variant from spreading. These are the possibilities that have been pinpointed by Scientists regarding the concern of the Omicron variant.

  • It has more mutations

It has been estimated there were possibly 50 mutations in the Omicron variant as compared to the original variant with 36 mutations in the spike protein. The virus uses the spike protein to lock into the human cells and infect them. Omicron has mutations in the part of the spike protein connected to a receptor called ACE2 on human cells. To make it easy, the more the presence of spike proteins, the higher the rate of transmissibility and infections to the human cells. Scientists have found out some of the mutations have been associated with more immune escape that have been generated from previous infection and vaccination. However, although the Omicron variant is more contagious and highly transmissible, it is less severe as compared to other types of variant. Moreover, there is no absolute data showing the people who were infected with Omicron became severely ill and caused many casualties. This shows the virus may be less prominent and tolerable.

  • The omicron variant spreads much faster


According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Omicron variant can spread more easily as compared to delta variant. It has spread over 60 countries, mainly in Africa and Europe. A researcher from the University of Hong Kong has found that the Omicron variant replicates 70 times faster in the lung as compared to Delta variant after 24 hours of infection. Scientists said everybody has a tendency to spread Omicron even if they already have been vaccinated or asymptomatic. The vaccine may provide protection but after 6 months the ability of the defence mechanism started to decline and needs to be retaken with other injections such as boosters to strengthen the immune system.


3)      Monoclonal antibodies are less effective

Monoclonal antibodies have been developed by Scientists to fight against Covid19 and it is effective to ward off delta variants but seemingly not working effectively against Omicron variants. Scientists have conducted an experiment to observe the potential of monoclonal antibodies to fight against variants. They isolated a virus from the patient to see whether the antibody using plaque reduction assay is effective to neutralize the virus or not. It is found to successfully neutralize delta and Omicron variants at half maximal. Sotrovimab, the one and only monoclonal antibody, has been shown to be effective against both variants. Unfortunately, this monoclonal antibody is not widely available and accounts for a small portion distributed by the government.

Atticus Bennett: Atticus, a sports nutritionist, provides dietary advice for athletes, tips for muscle recovery, and nutrition plans to support peak performance.