The Omicron variant of COVID -19 is identified as a variant of concern by WHO. This is based on the evidence that it has several mutations that may have an impact on how it behaves. Although, there is still substantial uncertainty regarding Omicron. And, a lot of research is underway to evaluate its transmissibility, severity and reinfection risk.
New variants like Omicron variant (B.1.1.529) are a reminder that the COVID-19 pandemic is far from over. It is therefore essential that people get the vaccine when available to them and continue to follow existing advice on preventing the spread of the virus, including physical distancing, wearing masks, regular handwashing and keeping indoor areas well ventilated.
The Omicron variant likely will spread more easily than the original SARS-CoV-2 virus and how easily Omicron spreads compared to Delta remains unknown. CDC expects that anyone with Omicron infection can spread the virus to others, even if they are vaccinated or don’t have symptoms.
It is also critical that vaccines and other public health measures are accessible everywhere. Vaccine inequity leaves lower income countries at the mercy of COVID-19. Well-supplied countries must urgently deliver the doses they promised.
Where Is The Omicron Variant Present?
The Covid 19 Omicron variant has now been detected in many countries around the world. WHO reports that Omicron is probably in most countries, even if it hasn’t been detected yet.
Early findings suggest that this variant might be less severe than the Delta variant. However, more data is needed and WHO warns that it should not be dismissed as “mild”.
It is important to note that all variants of COVID-19 can cause severe disease or death, including the Delta variant. Therefore, preventing the spread of the virus and reducing your risk of exposure to the virus is so important.
Is The Omicron Variant More Contagious?
Omicron is spreading more rapidly than other variants. WHO believes it is likely that Omicron (B.1.1.529) will outpace the Delta variant where there is COVID-19 transmission in the community.
However, being vaccinated and taking precautions such as avoiding crowded spaces, keeping your distance from others and wearing a mask are critical in helping to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Most Common Omicron Symptoms Are
Aside from the typical symptoms of COVID-19, an Omicron infection can also cause symptoms that were not frequent while the prior versions were in the wild.
- Running nose
- Dry cough
- Sore throat
- Lower back pain
Omicron symptoms differ from person to person, so don’t assume you’re COVID-free just because you don’t have classic symptoms like cough and fever
Are The COVID-19 Vaccines Effective Against The Omicron Variant?
Researchers are looking into any potential impact the omicron variant in India has on the effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines. Information is still limited. But, there may be a small reduction in the effectiveness of vaccines against severe illness and death and decline in preventing mild disease and infection. As per WHO reports, currently available vaccines offer significant protection against severe disease and death.
It is also important to be vaccinated to protect against the other widely circulating variants, such as the Delta one. If your vaccination involves two doses, it’s important to receive both in order to have the maximum protection.
Early evidence suggests that the previous infection could offer less protection against Omicron in comparison to other variants of concern, such as Delta. You should get vaccinated even if you have previously had COVID-19. While people who recover from COVID-19 may develop some natural immunity to the virus. Vaccines offer more reliable protection.
Do Current COVID-19 Tests Detect The Omicron Variant?
According to the doctors, widely used PCR and antigen-based rapid diagnostic tests continue to detect infection of COVID-19, including sars-cov-2 omicron variant.
Testing To Detect Omicron Variant Symptoms
Two types of tests are used to test for current infection: nucleic acid amplification tests (NAATs) and antigen tests. NAAT and antigen tests can only tell you if you have a current infection. Individuals can use the COVID-19 Viral Testing Tool to help determine what kind of test to seek. Additional tests would be needed to determine if your infection was caused by Omicron. Self-tests can be used at home or anywhere, are easy to use, and produce rapid results.
If your self-test has a positive result, stay home or isolate for 10 days, wear a mask if you have contact with others, and call your healthcare provider. If you have any questions about your self-test result, call your healthcare provider or public health department.
Scientists are working to understand how well existing treatments for COVID-19 work. Based on the changed genetic make-up of Omicron variant, some treatments are likely to remain effective while others may be less effective.
Vaccines are considered to be the best public health measure to protect people from COVID-19. Also, reduce the likelihood of new variants emerging. COVID-19 vaccines are highly effective at preventing severe illness, hospitalizations, and death.
Scientists are currently investigating Omicron, including how protected fully vaccinated people will be against infection, hospitalization, and death. CDC recommends that everyone 5 years and older can protect themselves from COVID-19 by getting fully vaccinated. It also recommends that everyone above 16 years and older get a booster shot after completing their primary COVID-19 vaccination series. You are eligible for a booster at 5 months after completing Pfizer-BioNTech primary series, 6 months after completing Moderna primary series, and 2 months after the initial J&J/Janssen vaccine. Individuals aging 16-17 are only eligible for the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine.
Additionally, CDC continues to recommend wearing a mask in public indoor settings in areas of substantial or high community transmission, regardless of vaccination status.
Tips To Protect Against The Covid Omicron Variant
The most essential thing you can do is reduce your risk of exposure to the virus. To protect yourself and your loved ones, make sure to:-
- Wear a mask that covers your nose and mouth.
- Make sure that your hands are clean when you put on and remove your mask.
- Keep a physical distance of at least 1 meter from others.
- Avoid poorly ventilated or crowded spaces.
- Open windows to improve ventilation indoors.
- Wash your hands regularly.
Current vaccines are expected to protect against severe illness, hospitalizations, and deaths due to infection with the Omicron variant. However, breakthrough infections in people who are fully vaccinated are likely to occur. With other variants, like Delta, vaccines have remained effective at preventing severe illness, hospitalizations, and death. The recent emergence of Omicron further emphasizes the importance of vaccination and boosters.
There are rising omicron variant covid 19 cases as per current reports. Therefore, it has become essential to take necessary actions for protection against the covid infection.
If you are affected by the omicron variant, you must reach out to the best hospital in Hyderabad for immediate medical consultation and proper treatment to fight against the disease.