|LETTER TO THE EDITOR
|Year : 2022 | Volume
| Issue : 1 | Page : 70-71
Differentiating the SARS-CoV-2 Omicron (B.1.1.529) variant from other COVID-19 variants of concerns and the common cold
Chetan Dixit, Abid Haleem, Mohd Javaid
Department of Mechanical Engineering, Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi, India
|Date of Submission||24-Jan-2022|
|Date of Decision||29-Jan-2022|
|Date of Acceptance||01-Feb-2022|
|Date of Web Publication||24-Feb-2022|
Department of Mechanical Engineering, Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi - 110 025
Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None
|How to cite this article:|
Dixit C, Haleem A, Javaid M. Differentiating the SARS-CoV-2 Omicron (B.1.1.529) variant from other COVID-19 variants of concerns and the common cold. Apollo Med 2022;19:70-1
|How to cite this URL:|
Dixit C, Haleem A, Javaid M. Differentiating the SARS-CoV-2 Omicron (B.1.1.529) variant from other COVID-19 variants of concerns and the common cold. Apollo Med [serial online] 2022 [cited 2022 May 21];19:70-1. Available from: https://www.apollomedicine.org/text.asp?2022/19/1/70/338427
One of the latest variants of SARS-CoV-2, first detected in South Africa, is named Omicron (B.1.1.529), which is highly mutated and infectious. It is more infectious than the prevalent Delta variant (B.1.617.2). We see that this variant would be the main SARS-CoV-2 variant across the globe., According to the available studies, Omicron is milder than the Delta variant, with a 30% to 70% reduced probability of persons infected ending up in the hospital. Omicron can induce cold-like symptoms such as a sore throat, runny nose, and headache, but this does not imply that everyone will be affected in the same way, and some people can become very ill. Researchers from Hong Kong University identified that the Omicron variant (B11529) attacks the respiratory tract, and this variant multiplies 70 times faster in the bronchi than the Delta variant and the original SARS-CoV-2 virus. The overall threat posed by Omicron is determined by four key issues (public health and social measures [PHSM]):
- Capability of spreading of the variant
- Response to vaccines and earlier infection protection on, transmission, clinical disease, and death
- Effectiveness of Omicron variant concerning other variants
- How well can populations understand these complexities and risks and conform to control measures, such as social measures and public health?
Commonly used polymerase chain reaction and antigen-based rapid diagnostic tests can detect Omicron, as S-gene dropout or target failure has been used to distinguish Omicron from Delta. Multiple gene target tests will seek to identify the test as positive for COVID-19. To avoid infection, people should actually keep spaces adequately ventilated, avoid overcrowding and close contacts, they should use well-fitting quality masks and should, wash hands frequently, and also get vaccinated, as they did with previous variants. Some are now getting booster doses as well.
The evolution of SARS-genome CoV-2's (through random mutations) resulted in naturally chosen mutant virus specimens (i.e., genetic variations), which is more transmissible. Some SARS-CoV-2 variants are of worry because they retain replicate fitness in the face of rising population immunity.
The WHO has designated five variants of SARS-CoV-2 as variants of concern: Alpha, Beta, Gamma, Delta, and Omicron. These mutations play a role in the COVID-19 pandemic's persistence. The information and transmissibility risk level for the following variant of concern are presented in [Table 1].
[Table 1] briefs the source of the outbreak and the transmissibility of the variants concerning each other. It gives technically brief and presents the most recent information on the critical elements of Omicron transmission and severity, with making differences with the common cold. There is currently limited available data on vaccine effectiveness for Omicron, and no peer-reviewed research seems available.
When it comes to COVID-19 and the common cold, a person can be infected for one or more days before experiencing disease symptoms. However, if a person has COVID-19, symptoms may take longer to appear than if they had a common cold. A COVID-19 infected person may be contagious for a more extended period than if they have a cold. COVID-19 is found to have more spread events than the common cold. This means that the virus that causes COVID-19 can rapidly and readily spread to a large number of people, resulting in ongoing spread among people as time passes. COVID-19 appears to cause more severe illnesses in older people, pregnant women, infants, and even children. Even healthy people can develop severe COVID-19 sickness, leading to hospitalization, or even death. Thus, this variant is quite different from the common cold viruses.
Therefore, individuals should use proven PHSM to lower their risk of the Omicron variant, such as wearing well-fitting masks, hand hygiene, physical distance, enhancing indoor ventilation, avoiding crowded locations, and being vaccinated. It should not be treated like a common cold infection.
Financial support and sponsorship
Conflicts of interest
There are no conflicts of interest.
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