The Omicron variant of the COVID-19 virus was first reported to the World Health Organization (WHO) in Botswana and South Africa in November of 2021. Since its discovery, the Omicron variant has spread much faster than any other variant of the COVID-19 virus.
At the beginning of December 2021, Omicron represented less than 1% of the sequenced cases. The Delta variant was responsible for 99%. Then, by New Year’s Day, Omicron had shifted the scale and became responsible for 95% of the sequenced cases.
This can be attributed to Omicron having more mutations than any other variant, with many of the mutations on the spike protein. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) expects more new variants of the virus to continue to occur.
Why omicron is dangerous
The Omicron variant multiplies around 70 times fasters in the lungs than Delta, but research suggests that it is less severe than previous strains. It is also 2 or 3 times more likely to cause reinfection. As evidence suggests that receiving two doses of the mRNA vaccine is less effective on the Omicron variant.
Even though milder, by spreading at a much faster rate and being more resistant to vaccines, Omicron still has the potential to be very dangerous. Hospitals and healthcare organizations are still at risk of becoming overcrowded with patients.
HIstory of omicron variant
November 24, 2021 – The new variant was reported to the World Health Organization (WHO). The specimens were collected on November 11, 2021, in Botswana and shortly after in South Africa.
December 1, 2021 – Omicron was first confirmed in the United States by a San Francisco traveler returning from South Africa.
December 6, 2021 – The first Omicron variant confirmed case in the state of Texas came from a Houston resident.
December 13, 2021 – Omicron variant first confirmed in Austin, Texas.
January 4, 2022 – United States hit 1 million positive COVID tests in one day.
The Omicron variant’s symptoms are similar to the previous variants. These include cough, fever or chills, headache, sore throat, congestion, shortness of breath, and fatigue. Though there may be evidence to support Omicron being less likely to have an effect on taste and smell. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it is important to get tested.
AnyPlace MD offers a variety of COVID tests to suit any needs you may have, click here to learn more about the products we offer.
monoclonal antibody infusions
In 2020 the FDA authorized the use of monoclonal antibodies to treat mild to moderate COVID-19 cases. These antibodies are administered to the patient by a healthcare professional through an IV infusion.
After entering the body, the antibodies attach to the spike proteins on the virus. This then blocks the virus’s ability to enter cells and ultimately slows down the infection. Research suggests that monoclonal antibody infusions can reduce the number of hospitalizations caused by the virus.
To learn more about AnyPlace MD’s Mobile Monoclonal Antibody Infusion service click here.
when to get tested
The CDC suggests testing for the following:
- If you are experiencing any COVID symptoms
- 5+ days after exposure or suspected close contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19
- When screening for school, work, etc.
- Before and after traveling
- When asked by a healthcare professional or public health official
Omicron subvariant ba.2
There is a recently discovered subvariant of Omicron that is “stealthier” than the BA.1 variant. This is because it has certain genetic traits that make detection more difficult. The subvariant BA.2 has also proven to be 1.5 times more transmissible than its parent variant, with an increase in the susceptibility of vaccinated individuals. This suggests that the subvariant is even better at evading the vaccine.
- The Omicron variant is around 70x faster at multiplying in the human bronchus than the Delta variant
- Omicron is around 2-3x more likely to cause reinfection than Delta
- Omicron subvariant BA.2 is 1.5x more transmissible than the original Omicron (BA.1)
- Omicron has 50+ mutations – the most of any variant so far