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How severe is Omicron? Know what scientists across the world are saying

How severe is Omicron? Know what scientists across the world are saying


Omicron is rapidly replacing Delta everywhere, with faster replacement effects than ever seen before in the pandemic, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said on January 18.

Ever since this variant has been detected, scientists have been worried about its transmissibility rate.

On the transmissibility rate of the Omicron variant, epidemiologist and the WHO’s COVID-19 technical lead Maria Van Kerkhove says the mutations found in the virus allow it to adhere to human cells more easily. Second reason that aids the rapid transmission of the virus is immune escape, which means that people can be reinfected either if they had a previous infection or if they’ve been vaccinated.

Another important reason cited by Maria Van Kerkhove is the replication of the Omicron variant in the upper respiratory tract which was not seen in delta or any other ancestral strain. Due to its presence in the upper respiratory tract it makes it easy to spread.

“The speed with which Omicron took over was really amazing,” says Shangxin Yang, assistant professor of pathology and laboratory medicine at University of California Los Angeles. “It’s almost magical. In two weeks, it went from accounting for 1% of COVID-19 cases around the world to 50% of cases, and in one month, to almost 100% of cases. That’s amazing speed; we could never have imagined any virus could do that,” he told an international journal.

The rate of spread of this variant can be seen from the rising number of cases worldwide.

In India, a total of 2.85 lakh COVID cases were reported on January 26. The first case of Omicron was reported in India on December 2.



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