The new type of Covid 19 “Omicron” has set off a global alarm as the government around the world struggle to impose new travel restrictions. World Health Organization classified a new variant of SARS Cov-2 named Omicron. The new strain, first discovered in South Africa, has now spread to more than 10 countries, including Canada, the UK, the Netherland, Denmark and Australia. Due to the fear that the new type of vaccine has the new potential to be more resistant to the protection provided, there are growing concerns around the world that epidemics and related lockdown restrictions will last longer than expected.
The Network Of Genomics Surveillance in South Africa (NGS-SA) had identified the variant. It had detected a group of SARS-Cov-2 viruses which belong to a lineage name of B.1.1.529, a type of concern, called Omicron.
Why Is The Omicron Variant So Scary?
The Omicron Covid 19 type, described by many experts as the worst strain of coronavirus, has several mutations from the earlier Covid 19 strains, and many more that have the potential to make Omicron the most contagious and vaccine-resistant strain ever.
Mutation In Omicron
According to experts the new strain of SARS Cov-2 has more than 32 mutations in the spike protein region twice as many as Delta. Therefore it has the potential of developing an immune escape mechanism. The Omicron has got the mutation of the Delta variant which became the most dominant variant across the world due to its highly transmissible property. As most vaccine produces antibodies against spike protein, many mutations in the spike protein region may reduce the effectiveness of the Covid 19 vaccine.
Some vaccines are directed to the spike proteins of the virus, which attach to the receptor. So if the virus has changed, the vaccine may not be effective. The mRNA vaccine needs to revolve around this change that has already been seen but all vaccines are not of the same nature.
Indian SARS Cov-2 Genomic Consortia INSACOG is closely monitoring a new type of Covid 19 called B.1.1.529 and its presence has not yet been detected in India, an official said.
What Is Mutation
A mutation is an alteration in the nucleotide of a sequence of the genome of an organism, virus or extrachromosomal DNA. The viral genome contains either DNA or RNA.
What Are The Mutation That Charectorize This Variant?
On the mutation profile of the new variant, NGS-SA states that B.1.1.529 contains a very unusual constellation of mutations-30 regions encoding spike proteins that are responsible for the entry of the virus into human muscle.
It states that some mutations are well characterized with known phenotypic effects, affecting infectivity and immune theft. Some of these mutations have already been detected in alpha and delta types. But many other mutations NGS-SA has stated that are rarely seen so far and are not well characterized. Therefore the overall significance of these mutations is uncertain at this stage. Further investigations are underway to determine the potential for these mutations to transmit the virus more efficiently, to affect the effectiveness of the vaccine and to prevent the immune response for more serious or mild diseases, the Centers For Disease Control said.
Which Of These Mutations Are Of Concern?
- NGS-SA stated that a cluster of mutations known as H655Y+N679K+P681 H is associated with more efficient cell entry indicating enhanced transmissibility.
- There is also a deletion nsp 6 which is similar to deletion in the Alpha, Beta, Gamma and Lambda variants. The NGS-SA says this may be associated with evasion of innate immunity and could enhance transmissibility.
- The new variant has the mutations R203K+G204 R which is also found in Alpha, Gamma and Lambda variants which are associated with increased infection.
Conclusion: We know that rapid onset of disease severity with Omicron type-especially in vaccinated individuals and the possibility of relapse is critical, but it is too early for any current data to be sufficient or reliable. The most recent WHO updates state that experts do not yet know if the Omicron type is more contagious or that it could lead to more serious diseases. There is also little information to suggest that the symptoms are different.
Disclaimer: All the content of this article is for information purposes only.
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[…] emergence of the Omicron B.1.1.529 type of new coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 virus has reilluminated the science of sequencing and analysis […]
[…] November 26, 2021, the WHO named Omicron B.1.1.529 and classified it as a “Variant Of Concern (VOC)”. On November 30, 2021, the United […]
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