Highlights:

  • Omicron, the new variant of COVID-19 first surfaced in South Africa
  • The omicron variant is a fast-overtaking Delta to become the dominant variant in South Africa
  • South African doctors claimed that they found the mild disease in Omicron cases

Omicron, the new variant of COVID-19 which first surfaced in South Africa, can not possibly render all vaccines ineffective, though it appears to get around some immunity, the latest data from South Africa revealed. Nevertheless, not much is discovered about this new variant as countries have started to classify this variant after South Africa raised concern in the last week of November.

According to reports, the omicron variant is a fast-overtaking Delta to become the dominant variant in South Africa but vaccines should still offer a shield against severe disease. The new COVID-19 variant is expected to be present all-over South Africa. As yet, nearly five out of nine South African provinces have reported Omicron cases.

However, it is not yet clarified whether South Africa carries out genome sequencing on only a small proportion of total samples collected each week. The overall number of confirmed Omicron cases in the country is not yet known. Nonetheless, the number of daily COVID cases has multiplied twice to 8,561.

Previously, South African doctors claimed that they found the mild disease in Omicron cases. However, scientists asserted that it is still too early to determine whether going forward Omicron will only cause mild illness. The symptoms that surfaced were mild as the cases were mostly found in younger age groups but at present older age groups are also becoming the target of this variant.

An infectious disease specialist at the KRISP genomics institute, Richard Lessells voiced that the severity of disease caused by the new strain may also be masked by the fact that many people have already contracted other variants or have been vaccinated by giving them some immunity.

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