Omicron: Everything about new coronavirus variant

The WHO pointed out that South Africa has witnessed increase in infections, coinciding with the detection of B.1.1.529 variant

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NH Web Desk

A new variant of the coronavirus that causes the deadly Covid-19 infection is now wreaking havoc across the world. The advisory panel of the World Health Organization (WHO) on Friday declared COVID new variant B.1.1.529 to be a ‘variant of concern’ and named it as ‘Omicron’. The WHO has classified it as highly transmissible.

It must be noted that the B.1.1.529 variant was first reported to the WHO from South Africa on November 24. Later, the WHO pointed out that South Africa has witnessed increase in infections, coinciding with the detection of B.1.1.529 variant.


So, what do we know?

• The scientific name of the new variant is B.1.1.529

• This virus is radically different than the original that emerged in Wuhan, China

• It has 32 mutations in the spike protein

• Omicron has now been seen in travellers to Belgium, Hong Kong and Israel

• The number of cases of this variant appears to be increasing

Meanwhile, concerns over the new variant has triggered widespread travel bans with the European Union, the US, Canada, Saudi Arabia joining list of countries suspending flights from South Africa.

The Indian government has directed states to ensure ‘rigorous screening and testing’ of all international travellers landing in India from ‘at risk’ countries.

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