While the year 2020 was spoiled by strict curfews and travel restrictions, the year 2021 presented a greater challenge in the form of a devastating second wave. Things began to improve quickly, thanks to a widespread vaccination campaign that boosted our communal immunity against the illness. However, in November 2021, a new form of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus emerged. This variant has been given the name Omicron by the World Health Organisation (WHO), and it has been designated as a Variant of Concern (VOC).
How & when was Omicron identified?
When a virus spreads rapidly and generates a large number of illnesses, it is more likely to change. In November 2021, Omicron variant was discovered at the National Institute for Communicable Diseases in South Africa. This was originally dubbed the B.1.1.529 variant. The WHO’s Technical Advisory Group on Virus Evolution (TAG-VE) named this variant Omicron on November 26th, 2021. Since then, the Omicron variety has been found in a number of nations, and the WHO warns that it is likely to be present in the majority of countries, even if it goes unnoticed.
What about the severity of Omicron’s infection?
The Omicron variant appears to be more infectious than the Delta variant, according to evidence. This is because the Omicron variant’s spike protein contains more mutations than the Delta variant’s. Spike proteins are found on a virus’s membrane, to put it simply. The more spike proteins the virus has, the easier it is for it to infiltrate human cells and infect them. The Omicron strain has roughly 32 changes that make it easier for the virus to attach itself to a human cell, according to research.
Who’s at risk & what are the symptoms of infection?
All COVID-19 variations, including the most common Delta variant, have been found to cause sickness or death as discussed below. People who have already been infected with COVID-19 may be more susceptible to re-infection with Omicron. Omicron infection is more likely in people who are immune-compromised or have a chronic illness. Here are common symptoms
Despite being a hallmark of a common cold or flu, a runny nose has been linked to Omicron infection. When a virus infects the nose, it produces more mucus to aid in the capture and removal of viral particles.
Headaches have been recorded as a sign of infection with the Omicron virus, which is typical with other strains of the virus. According to reports, the coronavirus causes moderate to severe headaches as well as pulsing or stabbing sensations.
Body aches and pains
Patients infected with Omicron have complained of body aches and pains, which are comparable to those experienced by people who were infected with the original coronavirus strain.
Extreme tiredness has been linked to the omicron variant. This symptom was associated with previous strains as well, lasting five to eight days in most patients. Some people, however, may have lethargy for several weeks after infection.
What’s our best chance of beating Omicron?
To stop the Omicron virus from spreading, prevention is essential. The good news is that we have the resources we need to combat the virus.
Vaccination is still the most effective way to prevent people from contracting COVID-19 and to slow down its spread. Vaccines also ensure that the virus’s mutation rate is reduced significantly.
Masks continue to be emphasised as a COVID-19 protection tool by health experts and scientists. Even if you are vaccinated, it is recommended that you wear a mask indoors or in places where transmission is easy.
Extensive testing and sample surveys can help us assess the severity of the infection and better prepare for an Omicron wave.
Maintain strict social distancing and hand hygiene. It also helps to stay away from busy areas unless absolutely essential.
If you have COVID-19 symptoms such as a fever, headache, cough, difficulty breathing, diarrhoea, loss of taste or smell, or exhaustion, consult your doctor immediately and isolate yourself.
About Ziqitza Limited Rajasthan
Ziqitza Healthcare Limited (ZHL) has been India’s leading provider of emergency medical services since 2005 (EMS). Ambulances, medical mobile units, telemedicine, and helplines are among the EMS services that they provide to hospitals, the government, and corporate clients in India. Ziqitza have made their mission to save people’s lives. Regardless of their location or financial status, They accomplish this by assessing their clients’ needs and delivering the best available solutions. The Ziqitza Rajasthan works with more than 39,000 ambulance networks in India, with services available in over 750 places.