Omicron: the symptoms of the new covid-19 variant, according to the doctor who discovered it in South Africa

Dr. Angelique Coetzee, president of the South African Medical Association, said that so far patients infected with the new omicron variant of the coronavirus that causes covid have presented very mild symptoms..

“What we are seeing now in South Africa, and remember that I am at the epicenter, is extremely mild,” he told BBC presenter Andrew Marr online from Pretoria.

We haven’t hospitalized anyone yet. I have spoken with other colleagues and the picture is the same, “he added.

Dr. Coetzee was the one who first alerted South African authorities to the possible existence of a new variant of the coronavirus. Laboratory tests confirmed that he was correct and the WHO declared it a variant of concern.

The doctor explained that it all started on November 18th, with a patient in his 30s who said he had been feeling tired and with pain in the body.

“He had a bit of a headache, he didn’t really have a sore throat, he described it more as an itch, no cough or loss of taste or smell.”

Coetzee found these symptoms unusual and decided to do a quick test in his office.

Both the patient and the rest of his family members tested positive for covid. As the doctor explained, they all had “very, very mild” symptoms.

Throughout the day other patients with similar symptoms appeared. Coetzee decided to alert the Ministry of Health’s Vaccine Advisory Committee, because she is on the committee herself. “It’s easy for me to say ‘listen, something is wrong today, I have seen a panorama that does not fit the delta variant ‘“, he counted.

Dr Coetzee was interviewed on the BBC’s Andrew Marr show.

Asked if the countries that, like the United Kingdom, the United States or Israel, have decided to restrict South Africa’s travel had rushed into a panic, he replied: “At this point, yes, definitely. Maybe in two weeks we will be saying something. different”.

Coetzee believes that the omicron variant is likely already circulating in countries that are adopting travel restrictions.

“Your doctors may be focused on the delta variant and overlook it, because easy to miss. If it weren’t for the fact that we in South Africa hadn’t seen any cases of covid in recent weeks, we would have overlooked it as well. “

The omicron variant was reported by the South African authorities to the World Health Organization last Wednesday and declared a variant of concern on Friday by the international organization.

The first information seems to show that it has a higher transmissibility and a higher risk of reinfection than other known variants of the coronavirus due to its large number of mutations, but scientists caution that more information is needed to reach a definitive conclusion.

Since its identification, a growing number of countries have reported omicron cases such as Germany, the United Kingdom, Belgium, the Netherlands and Italy. GETTY IMAGES

Although the WHO has advised against the adoption of travel restrictions, several countries, including the United Kingdom, the United States and states of the European Union, have closed their doors to travelers from South Africa, Botswana, Swaziland, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia and Zimbabwe for fear of the spread of the new variant of the virus that causes covid.

Others have gone further: Morocco has suspended the arrival of international flights for two weeks and Israel has banned foreigners from entering its territory.

Now you can receive notifications from BBC News Mundo. Download the new version of our app and activate them so you don’t miss out on our best content.



Read also

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.