The Latest Facts About the Omicron Variant, More Vaccine Resistance?

Jakarta, CNBC IndonesiaThe emergence of a new variant of Covid-19, Omicron, has made the world start to fret. The reason is that the variant is claimed to be more resistant and stronger in inhibiting immunity in humans.

So far, the World Health Organization (WHO) has labeled the variant a “variant of concern”. The UN agency said further research into the behavior of the virus had to be continued.

Then what are the latest facts about this virus, here is the list as summarized by CNBC Indonesia.

1. Origin

The first sample of Omicron or B.1.1.529 was taken on 9 November. At that time, the WHO conducted a study after seeing a sharp spike in Covid-19 cases in South Africa.

“This new variant, B.1.1.529 seems to be spreading very fast!,” Tulio de Oliveira, director of the South African Center for Epidemic Response & Innovation, and a genetics researcher at the University of Stellenbosch, said.

2. Recent research results

The variant itself brings fear due to the number of mutations it carries. Noted, there are 32 mutations on the side of the protein spike. Mutations in this spike protein can affect the ability of the virus to infect cells and also inhibit vaccine-provided immunity.

“Very, very much has to be monitored because of the dire profile of the spike,” Dr Tom Peacock, a virologist at Imperial College London, told the BBC. Guardians, Wednesday (24/11/2021).

Professor Christina Pagel, director of the Clinical Operations Research Unit at UCL, said on Twitter B.1.1529 may have a significant advantage over Delta and C.1.2.. Variant C.1.2. associated with high transmissibility.

“We know that B.1.529 has more mutations than other variants and has mutations seen in other variants that are associated with higher transmissibility and immune shedding,” he added. “It is the number and type of mutations that worry virologists and immunologists alike.”

Although still under monitoring, The CEO of the Covid vaccine manufacturer, Moderna, Stephane Bancel said that the current vaccine was deemed less effective against the new variant.

“Nothing in the world I think where (effectiveness) is at the same level … as Delta has,” Bancel said.

3. Death data due to Omicron.

Meanwhile, the World Health Organization (WHO) said that until now there have been no reports of deaths from this virus infection. In a press session on Monday (11/29/2021), the UN agency said that at this time it was very important to start taking preventive measures.

“To date, no deaths associated with Omicron have been reported, although more research is needed to assess Omicron’s potential to escape protection against vaccine-induced immunity and prior infection,” the institute said.

4. Countries that have so far reported cases of Omicron

At least 18 countries and territories have confirmed cases of the Omicron variant, according to data compiled by CNN International.

The latest is Japan which confirmed its first case of infection due to the Omicron variant, as reported by Kyodo News. Apart from Japan, the following is a list of countries that have announced cases of Omicron:

– Australia (6 cases)
– Austria (1)
– Belgium (1)
– Botswana (19)
– Canada (3)
– Japan (1)
– Czech Republic (1)
– Denmark (2)
Germany (3)
– Hong Kong, China (3)
– Israel (1)
– Italy (1)
– Netherlands (13)
– Portugal (13)
– South Africa (77)
– Spain (1)
– Sweden (1)
– United Kingdom (9)

[Gambas:Video CNBC]

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