You May Be Infected With Omicron Without Being Aware Of It: 5 Interesting Facts About This Variant

Most people who were infected with the Omicron variant of SARS-CoV-2 didn't know they had the virus, reveals a new study.

Have you been infected with the Omicron variant of SARS-CoV-2 virus? You would have been infected with the virus, but you didn't know about it. More than 50 per cent of people who were likely infected with the Omicron variant didn't know they had it, revealed a study published in JAMA Network Open.

Several studies have suggested some people with COVID-19 infection may not experience symptoms. Moreover, the Omicron variant is known to cause less severe symptoms compared to other previous SARS-CoV-2 variants. The symptoms associated with Omicron variant include fatigue, cough, headache, sore throat and runny nose.

Cedars-Sinai investigators, who conducted the study, stated that lack of awareness about the infection may have led to the fast spread of Omicron. The study findings also support earlier studies that say undiagnosed infections can increase transmission of the virus

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The Omicron variant is different from the previous variants of SARS-CoV-2 in many ways. Here are some interesting facts about this variant:

It's the fifth variant of concern

The Omicron mutation of the COVID-19 virus was first detected in Botswana and South Africa in early November 2021. On Nov. 26, 2021, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared it as the fifth variant of concern, after alpha, beta, gamma, and delta variants of SARS-CoV-2.

It's the most transmissible variant

Of all the SARS-CoV-2 variants identified so far, Omicron is believed to be the most transmissible one. Research shows that it can spread more than four times faster than the delta variant.

It causes less severe acute illness

Compared to other previous COVID-19 virus variants, Omicron is known to cause less severe acute illness, but mostly in vaccinated populations.

Omicron has many subvariants

Multiple Omicron subvariants have emerged, including BA.1, BA.2, BA.4, BA.5 and more. The BA.5 subvariant, which is now dominant in the US, is believed to be the most contagious strain so far.

Omicron reinfection is very common

Researchers say Omicron can evade immunity induced both by COVID-19 vaccine and prior infections. This makes reinfections more common. A study from Landspitali-The National University Hospital of Iceland recently suggested that the incidence of reinfection with the Omicron variant is more common than previously thought.

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