5 things to know about omicron variant of COVID-19

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WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Because the coronavirus pandemic continues to disrupt lives in each nook of the globe, the emergence of latest variants would not appear to be stopping anytime quickly.

The World Well being Group categorized Friday a brand new pressure of COVID-19 that was not too long ago detected in southern Africa as a “variant of concern.”

Listed below are 5 issues we all know in regards to the new omicron variant:

1. What’s it?

Omicron is the most recent variant of COVID-19 because the novel coronavirus was first recognized in China two years in the past.

It is unclear the place the brand new variant first emerged, however scientists in South Africa first alerted the WHO following an increase in COVID-19 instances that confirmed indicators of speedy transmission.

The WHO designated it Friday as a “variant of concern,” naming it “omicron” after a letter within the Greek alphabet.

Jerome Delay/AP

FILE – A resident from the Alexandra township will get examined for COVID-19 , in Johannesburg, Wednesday, April 29, 2020. A brand new coronavirus variant has been detected in South Africa that scientists say is a priority due to its excessive variety of mutations and speedy unfold amongst younger folks in Gauteng, the nation’s most populous province. (AP Photograph/Jerome Delay, File)

2. The place is it?

This new pressure has now been seen in vacationers arriving in a number of nations around the globe, together with a number of European nations and Canada.

Nonetheless, as of Monday, no instances of the omicron variant have been recognized within the U.S.

Beginning Monday, the U.S. banned journey from South Africa and 7 different southern African nations in an effort to scale back the unfold of the virus.

Israel is banning foreigners from all nations.

RELATED: Wellington infectious illness specialist explains new omicron COVID-19 variant

3. Is it extra transmissible, extra lethal?

Regardless of nations around the globe banning air journey from a number of southern African nations, scientists cautioned that it’s nonetheless unclear whether or not omicron is extra transmissible than different variations of the virus.

CNN stories that that genomic scientists say the brand new variant has an “unusually excessive” variety of mutations that trigger the virus to have extra of the important thing spike proteins it makes use of to get into the wholesome cells it assaults.

Nonetheless, the director of the Nationwide Institutes of Well being in the USA mentioned at the moment there isn’t any knowledge that implies the brand new variant causes extra critical sickness than earlier variations.

Scientists say inside about two weeks we should always know extra about omicron, together with if it transmits roughly quickly than different variants of the virus.

Biden delivers remarks on Omicron variant of Covid

4. Will the present vaccines work?

For the time being, well being specialists are analyzing the information to see if the present variations of the vaccines used within the U.S. shall be efficient in opposition to omicron.

NBC reported Friday that a number of firms are already researching the brand new variant to see if it eludes immunity from their vaccinations.

Moderna mentioned it was testing current boosters to see in the event that they might be used in opposition to the omicron variant.

Pfizer mentioned they might have the ability to develop and produce a “tailored vaccine” to combat omicron in about 100 days.

“Within the occasion, hopefully unlikely, that up to date vaccinations or boosters are wanted to reply to this new variant, we’ll speed up their growth and deployment with each obtainable instrument,” President Joe Biden mentioned Monday.

5. Can we count on extra lockdowns and measures put in place to cease the unfold?

Moreover flight restrictions to eight African nations, there have been no bulletins about lockdowns or different impediments to journey.

Biden on Monday urged Individuals to get vaccinated, together with getting booster pictures, as he seeks to scale back considerations in regards to the new variant.

“This variant is a trigger for concern, not a trigger for panic,” Biden mentioned.

The president mentioned he will not instantly push for extra restrictions to cease the unfold of omicron however urged folks to proceed to put on masks whereas indoors.

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