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Throat Pain, Lethargy Among Omicron Symptoms; Be Aware As India Reports More Cases Of New Variant

Throat Pain, Lethargy Among Omicron Symptoms; Be Aware As India Reports More Cases Of New Variant

First detected in South Africa, a highly mutated version of COVID-19, Omicron is spreading rapidly in India. The country registered its fifth case of the variant on Sunday. Here are some of the warning symptoms of the Omicron variant you should not ignore.

Written by Arushi Bidhuri |Updated : December 6, 2021 12:07 PM IST

Just as the year 2021 was going to bid a final bye and our economies were recovering globally, the World Health Organization (WHO) on the 26th November declared a new variant of the SARS COV-2 virus named OMICRON as a 'variant of concern'. The first reported case of this variant was in Botswana on the 11th November 2021, and since then has caused a rampant number of cases in many parts of the African continent, including South Africa.

Much to India's dismay, another case of the virulent COVID-19 variant has been found in the national capital, confirmed officials in a statement on Sunday. This has brought the number of cases in India to 5 and caused a state of panic. But is it really the reason why India might encounter the third wave of coronavirus? Dr Charu Dutt Arora, Consultant Physician and Covid care expert, Ameri Health, Asian Institute of Medical Sciences, Faridabad, explains it all in an exclusive talk with the health site.

What Is Omicron?

A virus has an inherent capacity to mutate, in order to evade our immune responses and treatment methods.

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The new variant of COVID-19 , B1.1.529. also called OMICRON is a mutated variant that has major changes in the spike protein (which enters the human tract) and receptor binding domain (the area that attaches itself to the cells of the human body). It is now known that this variant has more than 32 mutations in spike protein (as compared to 15 mutations in the Delta variant) and 10 mutations in the RBD region (as compared to 2 mutations in the Delta variant). These changes have made this variant highly transmissible and contagious, with an R naught value of 1.93 (as compared to 1.47).

Why Are We So Worried?

With so many mutations and a high risk of transmission, the variant has raised concerns about the variant evading our vaccination strategy. This is the reason why the variant has been causing a lot of worries worldwide.

Is Vaccination Not Effective?

So far, there is no clear data that Omicron infection evades our vaccinations. The COVID-19 vaccines are effective in decreasing the rates of hospitalization and controlling complications as much as possible.

What Are The Main Symptoms?

As per the information from patients in South Africa, the main symptoms of this variant infection is pain in the throat and excessive weakness and body pain.

What All Countries Are Affected?

Till now, more than 30 countries worldwide have been affected by this variant. These include South Africa, Botswana, Netherlands, UK, Canada, US, South Korea, Nigeria, Belgium, France, Germany, Isreal, India and Italy. India has 5 confirmed cases of positive patients from high-risk countries, and genome sequencing reports are still awaited from suspected cases.

How Is Omicron Diagnosed?

Just like other Covid-19 virus variants, an RT PCR test is used to diagnose the infection. If positive, the sample is sent to the lab for genomic sequencing in order to know the type of variant.

What To Do?

To avoid further transmission, one must continue to mask up, maintain social distancing, keep hand hygiene, avoid unnecessary travel, only meet in outdoor environments and get vaccinated as soon as possible. It is a must to get your second dose of vaccine as early as it is due.

"To sum it up, OMICRON is a variant of concern and caution and not panic."

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