10:31 pm - Monday December 5, 2022

Opinion | Omicron option: you can’t take the risk

294 Viewed Pallavi Kumar Comments Off on Opinion | Omicron option: you can’t take the risk

Opinion | Omicron variant: We can`t afford to take chances According to WHO, Omicron variant is highly contagious and it spreads faster, and that is why, it has been declared a variant of concern within four days of being detected. Since it has mutated to more than 50 forms, it will be difficult for experts to carry out genome sequencing.
Today I want to caution all of you about the dangers posed by the highly contagious new Omicron variant that is spreading fast across the world and may strike India any time now. World Health Organization has warned that the global risk from this new Omicron variant of Coronavirus is “very high” based on early evidence and it could lead to surge in infections with severe consequences. “Considerable uncertainties remain about the new variant that was first detected in southern Africa. “There is a high probability of further spread worldwide,” the WHO said. The second wave of the pandemic that swept India in April and May of
was associated with the Delta variant, killing thousands worldwide. This new omicron variant is spreading six times faster than the delta variant. It was first discovered on 22 November in South Africa. Most worrisome is that the omicron variant has already undergone more than 50 mutations.
On Monday night, US President Joe Biden said, this new variant is a cause of concern, not a cause for panic. He said, the US is going to fight this variant this winter not with shutdowns or lockdowns, but with more widespread vaccinations, boosters, testing and more.” This new variant has spread to least 13 countries within a span of a week, but, according to our Health Ministry, India is yet to detect a single case of Omicron variant.
This new variant has, till now, been detected in South Africa, UK, Botswana, Germany, Netherlands, Denmark, Portugal, Belgium, Israel, Italy, Czech Republic, Hong Kong and Australia. Entry of all foreigners into Japan, Israel and Morocco has been prohibited, while most of the countries, including India, have enforced compulsory testing of all incoming passengers.
However, the fact remains that at least 1,000 travellers have come to Mumbai from south African countries in the last two weeks. So far, the city’s BMC has collected swab samples from only 100 of 466 travelers, and none have reported positive. More than 400 travelers have already traveled to other locations and are being tracked.
According to the WHO, the Omicron strain was declared a strain of concern four days after its discovery due to its high contagiousness and rapid spread. With more than 50 forms of mutation, it would be difficult for experts to perform genome sequencing.
WHO also stated that simple home isolation is not suitable for this new option. Naturally, the load on the bed increases. The mortality rate of this new option is not yet clear as research is already underway.
The age group most affected by this new strain is unknown. Until the study is complete, WHO has pushed forward with current standard operating procedures such as wearing a mask, social distancing, testing, and avoiding crowded places.
The National Technical Advisory Group on Immunization (NTAGI) will decide next week on booster doses for immunocompromised, elderly, or those at high risk of infection or death from Covid19 infection, following recommendations from a panel of experts. . Vaccination is a strong public health measure, experts say, and even if mutant mutations cause mutations, vaccines are mostly protective. Some experts say that existing vaccines should be very effective at preventing serious diseases that can be caused by omicron variants.
In Bangalore, two travelers from South Africa tested positive. One of them is stable and the other patient has symptoms different from the Delta variant. She sent smear samples from both of them for genome sequencing. Karnataka Health Minister Dr. K. Sudhakar said it would be difficult to prevent omicron variants from reaching India.
Meanwhile, cases of Covid19 are increasing in some states in India. At Dharwar College of Medicine in Karnataka, 66 students were diagnosed with coronavirus on Wednesday and the number rose to 99 on Saturday. Currently, there are 280 of these, including students and teachers. The biggest reason is the rookie party held at the medical school a week ago. There were no major issues with most people taking both doses.
Similarly, in Rajasthan, 22 students tested positive, and in Sandergarh and Sambalpur, Odisha, 53 boarding girls and 22 MBBS students tested positive. In Biwandi, near Mumbai, 67 residents of Matoshri Nursing Home have tested positive. They have all been vaccinated and are currently being treated at a hospital in Tanya.
Council for Scientific and Industry Research (CSIR) CEO Shekhar Mande said vaccination is the only option. He added that it is very important for all of us to be vaccinated. With 122 million doses already administered to people across India, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on the opening day of the parliamentary winter meeting that the new version of Omicron will certainly cause concern. He urged people to follow coronavirus guidelines and avoid crowds.
Overall, facts about the new Omicron are still sketchy and little information, but things can be daunting. We may disregard the risks at our own risk.

We cannot forget the second wave in April and May of this year, when Indians had difficulty breathing due to lack of oxygen and lack of hospital beds. We cannot afford to relax. Second, in many parts of India, people, including medical students, tested positive in the cohort. They are infected with an old strain of coronavirus. Because most were taking double doses, mortality was minimal. Third, it is too early to say that a vaccine will not be effective against the new strain of Omicron.
WHO chief scientist Dr. Sumya Swaminathan said that vaccines, old or new, cannot be completely bypassed. People who have been vaccinated and have antibodies can resist the invasion of the new variant. Therefore, we urge everyone to get both doses of the vaccine, as vaccines are the most effective way to keep an infected person from going to the hospital. Be careful, avoid crowds and keep using your mask. The mask is as good as a vaccine in your pocket and has proven to be very effective at home.

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