The pandemic is not over. SARS-Cov-2 is the virus that causes Covid-19. Over time, the virus is mutating and develops resistance against the vaccines and antibodies, produced due to vaccination. Now after a little decline in original Covid-19 infections, once again hospitals are getting overwhelmed due to a new variant of SARS-Cov-2 which is Omicron. In this article, I will briefly describe what is an omicron, what are ba.2 variant symptoms, and how to protect you from this new variant. So, read the full article to know all about omicron.
What is an Omicron?
Omicron is a new variant of the Covid-19 virus. For those who don’t know what omicron means or what is an omicron, let’s, first of all, take a view at the background of the start of omicron. The first case of omicron was reported in Botswana and South Africa in November 2021.
They reported the case to WHO and WHO on 26 November declared it a variant of concern. The first case of omicron was diagnosed in California on 1st December in an individual who came from southern Africa. That’s how omicron came to the US and till now it has been devastating.
Early symptoms were mild in the patients of South Africa with a sore throat and runny nose. Few were also hospitalized and died. So scientist continues to know about the new variant of SARS. In omicron infection, patients do not lose the sense of taste and smell.
Omicron has more sub-variants which are BA1, BA2, BA3, BA4, and BA5. BA4 and BA5 are the most dominant strains in the US. Scientists are needed to worry because omicron variants are more resistant to Immunity developed from the Covid vaccine and antibody treatments.
ba.2 Variant Symptoms
If we take a look at the ba.2 variant symptoms in adults, they are mostly the same as in the COVID-19 infection. Normally omicron causes less severe infection and low need for hospitalization but it transmits very quickly. The severity of the infection depends upon the underlying infections, health status, previous COVID infection, vaccination status, and age. Symptoms include:
- Runny nose
- muscular pain
- nasal congestion
- hoarse voice
Omicron infection in the previously COVID recovered individual enhances the risks of:
- Heart attack
- Organ failure
Severity of Omicron
Omicron is not as severe as was COVID. Mutation in the SARS enhances transmissibility but also reduces its pathogenicity. New variants of omicron BA4 and BA5 are more contagious. There is an urgent need to focus on this infection because it spreads very quickly. Though it does not cause severe infection it can overwhelm the health care system due to quick transfer.
Every person is vulnerable to omicron whether he had COVID shots or not. But in the COVID-vaccinated individual, omicron produces less severe symptoms as compared to non-vaccinated. To protect your loved ones, you should know ba.2 variant symptoms for quick diagnosis and proper treatment.
If someone has symptoms of COVID like infection, urgently contact your doctor and follow the instructions. There is 2 type of tests available for omicron.
- Nucleic acid amplification test (like PCR)
It is a lab-based test in which nasal or throat swabs are used to collect the specimen for testing.
- Antigen Based Testing
It can also be performed at home. This test will only give you an idea of whether you have COVID infection or not. This will not explain which variant infected you. So if you are positive for this test, urgently isolate yourself and contact your doctors.
Does Vaccine Protect Us?
SARS gets many mutations in Omicron which increases its transferring ability. It also increases its resistance to existing remedies to coronavirus infection that as vaccination and antibody treatments. But at the same time, it decreases its severity.
The incubation period of the omicron is also reduced. Symptoms of omicron appear just after 2 days of infection. Scientists are still doing research and trying to understand its mechanism of action and structures.
COVID vaccine can protect us from Omicron. Researchers concluded that only 2 doses of COVID produce less immunity against the omicron but a booster dose produces maximum immunity.
How to protect your family?
The currently only possible way of protection from the Omicron virus is a fully COVID vaccinated population. If the maximum population gets the COVID vaccine, the virus will have fewer chances of mutation. If someone is infected with Omicron and finds ba.2 variant symptoms, urgently get isolated from family members. Use N95 or fully covered masks, if you cannot isolate yourself from others.
Generally, for a healthy person, there is no need to wear masks. But if you are at risk of infection, adopt precautionary measures. Omicron is not the last variant. It can further mutate to a new form.
Let us know how helpful this article is to provide you with information about Omicron.
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