What do we know about Omicron?


Only a few days have passed since the new species of COVID-19 became a hot topic all over the globe.

The World Health Organization (WHO) warns that the new Omicron variant presents a “very high risk”, but other scientists, including some of the WHO, learn about the new CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus. He emphasizes that there are still many things to do. Infectious, pathogenic, and other properties of the strain.

Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), told CNN’s “Union” that Omicron is more likely to be “more contagious” than its predecessor. He said there is still no information to show that it causes worse illnesses than previous variants.

Following the stock market upheaval when the variant hit the Black Friday news cycle, investment banking giant Goldman Sachs said, “I don’t think the new variant is a good reason to significantly change the portfolio.” Said and repelled. It cited the view that existing therapies are likely to continue to suppress new variants.

In South Africa, some of the early cases of Omicron have been identified and treated, with Dr. Angelique Coetzee of the South African Medical Association on The Daily Telegraph and Omicron patients not typical of COVID-19, but relatively mild. He said he showed symptoms of.

Epoch Times Photo
Healthcare professionals will help patients complete the form before conducting the PCR Covid-19 test at the Lanset Institute in Johannesburg on November 30, 2021. (EMMANUEL CROSET / Getty Images)

“It shows a mild illness, the symptoms are myalgia and a day or two of malaise, and I’m not feeling well,” Coetzee said. “So far, we have found that infected people do not suffer from loss of taste or smell. There may be a slight cough. There are no noticeable symptoms. Some infected people are now at home. Some people are being treated at. “

Origin, spread, and severity

The earliest reports of Omicron came from southern Africa. November 25, statement The COVID-19 Task Force in Botswana has announced that a new variant, B.1.1.529, has been detected in four travelers.

NS statement On November 26, from the State Department of Health and Human Services, four individuals, diplomats from an unnamed country, said they first tested positive for COVID-19 on November 11. Genome sequencing then revealed that travelers have new variants. ..

That same day, WHO Presentation Its B.1.1.259, or Omicron, was a variant of concern (VOC). WHO quoted a number of mutations in the variant, adding that “preliminary evidence suggests an increased risk of reinfection with this variant compared to other VOCs.”

In particular, the WHO announcement reported the first confirmed Omicron infection on November 9, rather than November 11, as described in the Botswana press release.

Since then, Omicron has been detected all over the world, at least 24 countries As of December 1, according to Forbes.

Subsequent analysis suggests that it circulated long before early to mid-November.

Epoch Times Photo
A group of tourists from Bordeaux, southern France, November 27, 2021. (THIBAUD MORITZ / AFP Getty Images)

In particular, Nigerian scientists have identified mutations in samples obtained in mid-October from travelers returning from South Africa.

The subspecies may be more contagious, but so far it has not been associated with greater illness or death.

All 44 cases detected in Europe Bloomberg reported that it was mild or asymptomatic.

This has led some experts to criticize the media and governments around the world for over-stirring fear of new variants.

Coetzee of the South African Medical Association led the accusation of what she considers to be Omicron’s hype.

“Clarify, what I see about this new variant does not justify the extreme actions the UK Government has taken in response,” she writes. Daily mail..

“Everyone here in South Africa [hospitalized] It is a variant of Omicron, and no one here believes it has caused a serious illness. “

November 29 Twitter threadDr. Nicholas Christakis of Yale University said, “There are no reports of death yet” from Omicron. “Soon we will see such a death,” he said.

So far, COVID-19 deaths in the country have been reported to have hit South Africa in November. collapsed From recent highs during the winter of the country in July and August.

However, on December 1, WHO COVID-19 technical lead Maria Van Kerkhove mentioned an increase in hospitalizations in the country. According to CNBC.. At the same time, the country has dealt with a small surge in delta variants that may explain some of the increased hospitalizations.

South Africa’s latest government figures are Case positive rate In Japan, it has reached 16.5% as of December 1st. 10.7% The day before that.

If Omicron is more contagious and less severe than previous variants, its appearance is Trade-off between infectious and pathogenic.. According to this scientific hypothesis, the pathogen evolves further and at the same time causes less damage to the host.

How about the treatment?

Some are worried about the effectiveness of current COVID-19 treatments for Omicron.

Regeneron Presentation The antibody cocktail may be less effective against this variant than the previous variant. Testing is still underway, pointing out that some of the other monoclonal antibodies currently under investigation may be useful in treating patients with Omicron.

On Tuesday, Moderna’s CEO warned that existing vaccines could fail against new variants, citing a conversation in an interview with an unnamed scientist. Financial Times, “All the scientists I talked to … are like” this wouldn’t be good “. “

Yet others, including Pfizer’s director and former Trump administration official Dr. Scott Gottlieb, made a brighter tone.

Epoch Times Photo
Travelers from South Africa will be tested for COVID-19 upon arrival at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol on November 30th. (REMKO DE WAAL / ANP / AFP Getty Images)

“There is reason for optimistic current booster vaccines to provide meaningful protection against #Omicron,” Gottlieb said. I have written On Twitter.

A statement from the University of Oxford showed that there is still no evidence that Omicron overcomes the protection provided by the vaccine.

In particular, many patients who have tested positive for the Omicron variant have also been vaccinated.

According to November 25th Twitter statement According to the Botswana COVID-19 Task Force, the first four cases of Omicron reported were fully vaccinated individuals.

The first confirmed case of the Omicron variant in the United States, identified by genomic sequencing, occurred in fully vaccinated individuals.

In addition, on November 29, Sethomo Lelatisitswe, Deputy Minister of Health and Wellness in Botswana testimony He told Parliament that none of the four unvaccinated out of the country’s 15 ongoing Omicron cases showed symptoms.

Collins of NIH believes that after an additional 2-3 weeks of field and laboratory testing, scientists will be better able to comment on the efficacy of existing vaccines against Omicron.

Little knowledge and big government action

The deeper your understanding of Omicron, the better your understanding of Omicron.

Thankfully, that knowledge can come sooner or later. WHO’s Wankel Hove says her agency expects to learn more about the new variant in days instead of weeks, as originally expected. Reuters..

Despite limited information about new variants and early signs that they may not be as serious, governments around the world are already reacting strongly.The United States, United Kingdom, and other countries Travel ban Japan bans all foreigners from entering, but from many countries in southern Africa.

WHO and other experts, like the American Travel Association, have criticized such restrictions.

Epoch Times Photo
Healthcare professionals will conduct the PCR Covid-19 test at the Lanset Institute in Johannesburg on November 30, 2021. (EMMANUELCROSET / AFP Getty Images)

Dr. Anthony Fauci, President Joe Biden’s Chief Medical Advisor, Said ABC’s George Stephanopoulos on November 28 said it was “too early to say” whether a new blockade or order would be implemented in response to Omicron in the United States.

“As I often say, we really need to be prepared for the worst,” Fauci said in the interview.

More and more experts have expressed concern about drastic measures as well as the use of blockades, and economist Donald Budo said that such closures were “large, huge, and perhaps unprecedented.” He told the Epoch Times that it would be effective.

write in Daily wireDr. Scott Atlas, an adviser to the coronavirus under President Donald Trump, said that while the death toll of COVID-19 was skyrocketing, even if it stopped growing rapidly with cases, “hysteria recurrence and It is unlikely that a management error by a powerful person will end so quickly. “

Nathan Worcester


Nathan Worcester is an environmental reporter for The Epoch Times.