Omicron as variant of concern
Recently the World Health Organization (WHO) named the new corona virus strain as “Variant of Concern” and named it as ‘Omicron’.
- This B.1.1.529 variant, was first reported in South Africa. It is considered potentially more dangerous than the Delta variant.
- It is associated with a “very unusual group” of mutations. It can also infect people who have been fully vaccinated.
- Viruses, like all living things, undergo a process of mutation throughout their lifetime.
- A mutation is a subtle change in a virus’s own genes by using the host’s body.
- This can make the virus more unstable and more vulnerable.
- Sometimes mutations can result in extensive changes in the structure of the virus.
- In this case, it may be difficult to detect the virus with existing tests. Additionally, it may react differently to treatment and may be nearly impossible to detect for antibodies developed after infection or vaccination.
Classification of COVID-19 variants by WHO:
Variant of Concern – This is a variant that results in increased proliferative capacity of the virus. In addition, the death rate of those affected by it also increases. In addition, the effectiveness of vaccines, therapies, and other health interventions decreases significantly. Alpha, Beta, Gamma and Delta variants come under this.
Variants of Internet:
It is a variant with the genetic potential to affect characteristics of the virus such as disease severity, immune escape, ability to spread and survive clinical measures, and cause widespread community spread. Eta, Iota, Kappa, Lambda and Mu come under this.
Variant Under Monitoring (VUM)
It is a variant involving genetic changes. It is suspected to influence the characteristics of the virus, but the evidence for its phenotypic or epidemic-like effect is currently unclear. This may be a danger in the future.
Source – The Hindu