What do we know about the new #Omicron variant till now?
#Omicron variant was first reported to WHO from South Africa on 24th Nov 2021. WHO says, “this variant has a large number of mutations, some of which are concerning. Preliminary evidence suggests an increased risk of reinfection with this variant, as compared to other VOCs.”
As the news of #Omicron reached nations, governments started imposing travel restrictions and isolating South Africa and Africa. Nobody even bothered to acknowledge the efforts of scientists in Bostwana who reported this data, for the first time, on sequencing in 72 hrs.
Global community of researchers and scientists has lauded the efforts of teams in SA and other African nations in carrying out transparent and responsible sequencing of #Omicron.
Zimbabwean scientist Dr. Sikhulile Moyo, based in Botswana, is the first scientist to have sequenced #omicron. @Tuliodna, one of the leaders of the SA genomics team, announcing the variant, has asked for help and requested to not to isolate Africa!
On #Omicron‘s lethality and infectiousness, it is a work in progress. Research institutions and labs are studying the new variants and have requested not to assume anything about the new variant or spread any fake information.
Though, SA Medical Association has claimed that #Omicron causes mild disease. In the meantime, US, UK, Australia, EU, Canda have restricted travel from several African countries.
India till now has not exclusively mentioned about imposing any ban on travel from Africa. Though it has issued protocols to be followed by travelers from high-risk nations. A new travel policy will also come in from 1st Dec 2021 for all the travelers.
In a letter by the Union Health Ministry, states have been asked to augment the health infrastructure and focus on strict testing and tracing. Meanwhile, states (Delhi, Karnataka, Maharashtra) have urged the Union govt. to not to allow the landing of international flights.
AIIMS Chief Dr. Randeep Guleria has said that #Omicron has reportedly got over 30 mutations in the spike protein region, making it capable of breaching the vaccine defense. He has asked for a more critical evaluation of the efficacy of vaccines against Omicron.