To date, the information that revolves around omicron, the new variant of concern (VOC) of the coronavirus, is still very scarce, as it was only last week when its presence became relevant. At the moment, 145 patients who have contracted it around the world are quantified.
In addition, health personnel assure that although it seems to be much more contagious than their contemporaries, those who suffer from it have very mild symptoms, so some of them have dared to speculate that it could promote “herd immunity”, however , There are specialists who assure that this collective objective is “probably impossible”.
“B.1.1.529”, as this variant is scientifically called, has already been detected on all continents, less than 10 days after being tracked, for the first time, in South Africa. According to data from “GISAID-COVID”, an initiative that monitors the incidence of the disease, as of Monday the region belonging to southern Africa has identified 110 cases, 19 in Botswana, five more in Hong Kong, two in Canada and, one in each of the following regions: Italy, Belgium, Israel and Austria.
Angelique Coetzee, a doctor for patients with COVID-19, said that the most common symptoms have been fatigue, mild body pain and headaches. “Most of them are seeing very, very mild symptoms and none of them so far have admitted patients to the emergency room,” he said. “We have been able to treat these patients conservatively at home … The most prevalent clinical complaint is severe fatigue for one or two days,” he deepened.
At the moment, there are some specialists who have expressed that thanks to its high contagiousness and the slight impact that omicron symptoms generate, this could be the variant that generates herd immunity, since it would be spread at higher rates without this producing a risk deadly for the infected.
However, Coetzee expressed that we should not trust and take lightly its dangerousness, since the coronavirus -in any of its mutations- is an inflammatory disease, which could trigger a negative reaction in the immune system of the person who contracts it and induce, in the worst case, death, especially when it comes to the most vulnerable groups of the population: the elderly, pregnant women or people with comorbidities.
One of the factors of greatest concern to scientists is the multiple changes observed in B.1.1.529.
Julian Tang, clinical virologist at the University of Leicester, protecting ourselves from the new variant should not be a problem, since in the same way that it happened with the appearance of alpha and delta, scientific evidence has demonstrated the reliability of the use of masks and the social distancing: “now there is more conviction among scientists that these measures work to reduce the spread of the coronavirus,” he said.
To protect ourselves from the possibility of contagion, Tang stressed that none of the measures is 100% effective, so by resorting to all of them, the chances of contracting COVID-19 are considerably reduced.