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The Omicron variant is already present in 57 countries

The WHO warned that the Omicron variant could increase hospitalizations and deaths if, as is known from early data, it is more contagious and causes more infections overall (REUTERS / Dado Ruvic / Illustration / File Photo)
The WHO warned that the Omicron variant could increase hospitalizations and deaths if, as is known from early data, it is more contagious and causes more infections overall (REUTERS / Dado Ruvic / Illustration / File Photo)

The new variant of the coronavirus called Omicron was first detected in South Africa on November 24. Barely 48 hours later the World Health Organization decided to meet urgently and classified it as variant of concern (VOC).

Omicron’s transmission speed made just 14 days after South African scientists alerted on the new mutation of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, 1,458 cases have been reported in 57 countries worldwide, according to data released by the World Health Organization (WHO) and by the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC).

The weekly epidemiological report of the international health agency highlights that the vast majority of confirmed cases in the European Union (EU) were in people with mild or even asymptomatic symptoms.

However, the WHO cautioned that while the Omicron variant may cause fewer severe cases than Delta, it could increase hospitalizations and deaths if, as is known from early data, it is more contagious and causes more infections overall.

In this sense, the report of the international agency is based on estimates of the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) which expects Ómicron to become the dominant variant in the EU with more than 50% of cases between January and March 2022, depending on the level of transmissibility that you end up having.

According to the latest update of the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) to date, cases were reported in 21 countries of the European Union (REUTERS / Eva Plevier)
According to the latest update of the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) to date, cases were reported in 21 countries of the European Union (REUTERS / Eva Plevier)

The WHO highlights the strong increase in cases in southern African countries, the region where the new variant was detected: not only South Africa, where cases have doubled in a week (111% more), but Eswatini (1,990%), Zimbabwe (1,361%), Mozambique (1,207%), Namibia (681%) and Lesotho (219%) .

However, the United Nations health agency report stresses that These strong increases could be related to the greater number of diagnostic tests that have been carried out in these countries in recent weeks due to the alarm over the new mutation.

Omicron spreads rapidly in Europe

According to the latest update of the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) to date, cases were reported in 21 countries of the European Union: Austria (15), Belgium (14), Croatia (3), Czechia (2), Denmark (83), Estonia (6), Finland (9), France (32), Germany (15), Greece (3) , Iceland (12), Ireland (1), Italy (11), Latvia (2), Liechtenstein (1), Netherlands (36), Norway (29), Portugal (34), Romania (2), Spain (11 ) and Sweden (13) according to information from public sources. Two new EU / EEA countries (Estonia and Liechtenstein) have reported the Omicron variant and several probable cases are currently being investigated in several countries.

Research from South Africa, Sweden and Germany shows that Ómicron, as feared, causes a loss of immune protection, but not completely (REUTERS / Gaelen Morse)
Research from South Africa, Sweden and Germany shows that Ómicron, as feared, causes a loss of immune protection, but not completely (REUTERS / Gaelen Morse)

Most confirmed European cases have an epidemiological link to cases with a history of travel to African countries, and some of them have made connecting flights elsewhere between Africa and Europe. However, the report indicates that several nations have detected samples of the Omicron variant of cases with no history of travel to African countries, indicating active secondary community transmission.

All cases for which information on severity is available were asymptomatic or mild. So far no deaths have been reported among these cases. These figures should be evaluated with caution, as the number of confirmed cases is too low to understand whether the clinical spectrum of Omicron disease differs from previously detected variants.

Outside the European bloc, 1,121 cases have been confirmed in at least 34 countries around the world. The infections of the new variant occurred in: Argentina, Australia, Botswana, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, Fiji, Ghana, India, Israel, Japan, Malaysia, Maldives, Mexico, Namibia, Nepal, Nigeria , Russia, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Singapore, South Africa, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Switzerland, Thailand, Tunisia, Uganda, United Arab Emirates, United States of America, United Kingdom, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.

Today’s report from European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) which calculated 55 countries with Omicron infections, the WHO added two more nations that reported new infections and that is why the global total is, to date, 57 countries with positives for the new variant.

One of the major concerns about the new variant is its apparently high level of reinfection., that is, the ability to infect people who have already had the disease before and had therefore developed natural antibodies against the coronavirus.

Booster shots increase protection

Pfizer announced that the third dose of its vaccine increases protection against the Omicron variant 25 times (EFE / EPA / NEIL HALL / File)
Pfizer announced that the third dose of its vaccine increases protection against the Omicron variant 25 times (EFE / EPA / NEIL HALL / File)

Laboratory Pfizer and its partner BioNTech announced Wednesday that a booster dose of your COVID-19 vaccine can protect against new variant of Omicron, although the two initial doses seem significantly less effective.

As announced by Pfizer, Laboratory tests showed that a booster dose increased the level of neutralizing antibodies to Omicron 25 times.

Scientists have speculated that the high jump in antibodies that comes with a third dose of COVID-19 vaccines could be enough to counteract any decrease in effectiveness.

Antibody levels predict how well a vaccine can prevent coronavirus infection, but they are only a layer of defenses of the immune system.

The president of United States, Joe biden, was expressed after knowing the news. “Pfizer’s New Data on Omicron Vaccine Efficacy Is Encouraging. This reinforces what my medical advisers have been emphasizing: that reinforcements give you the best protection yet”, He stressed.

Meanwhile, a small preliminary study conducted in South Africa suggests that the protection offered by the antibodies of a double dose of Pfizer’s vaccine is greatly reduced but not totally abolished with the Omicron variant and points out that Those who were infected with SARS-CoV2 and were also vaccinated are the most protected.

The study, based on the analysis of the effects of Ómicron on blood samples from 12 people previously vaccinated in South Africa with Pfizer-BioNTech’s anticovid solution, was conducted by specialists from the African Health Research Institute (Africa Health Research Institute, AHRI) and published last night for peer review by the scientific community.

KEEP READING:

Pfizer announced that the third dose of its vaccine increases protection against the Omicron variant of coronavirus by 25 times
Omicron’s threat can be curbed with an extra dose of the vaccine
The WHO stated that “there is no reason” to doubt the protection of vaccines against the Omicron variant

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HELEN HERNANDEZ

Helen Hernandez is our best writer. Helen writes about social news and celebrity gossip. She loves watching movies since childhood. Email: Helen@oicanadian.com Phone : +1 281-333-2229

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