What is the recommended physical distancing for the prevention of Omicron?

Was the omicron boom caused by low pollination rates?

Is the current PCR test valid for detecting omicron?

What are the scenarios for the future of the Omicron strain?

What is the recommended physical distancing distance for Omicron prevention?

The WHO EMRO says that the most effective steps individuals can take for prevention are:

  • Maintain a physical distance of at least one meter

  • wear a suitable mask

  • Open windows to improve ventilation

  • Avoid poorly ventilated or crowded places

  • Keeping hands clean

  • Cover your face with your elbow or tissue when coughing or sneezing

  • Get vaccinated

Are BCR tests valid for Omicron?

Widely used PCR tests still detect infections, including omicron infection.

Studies are currently underway to determine if there has been any effect on other types of tests, including rapid antigen detection tests, according to the WHO's Eastern Mediterranean Regional Office.

This test detects genetic material from a specific organism, such as a virus;

The test detects the presence of the virus if a person has the time to test, and it can also detect parts of the virus even after the infection is over, according to the Cleveland Clinic.

The health care provider takes a swab from the nose, and then sent to the laboratory, and a swab can be taken from the pharynx.

The sample is sent to the laboratory, where the genetic material is isolated and extracted from it, after which special chemicals and enzymes and a PCR device called a "thermal cycler" are used.

Each heating and cooling cycle increases (amplifies) the amount of target genetic material in the test tube.

After several cycles, millions of copies of a small portion of the virus' genetic material are in a test tube.

One of the chemicals in the tube produces a "fluorescent light" if the coronavirus is present in the sample.

Once amplified enough, a BCR can detect this signal.

Scientists use special computer programs to interpret the signal as a positive test result.

Was the omicron boom caused by low pollination rates?

The Regional Office for the Eastern Mediterranean says equity in access to vaccines is a major issue that needs to be resolved.

This new mutation, which originated in a country with low rates of vaccination - South Africa - proves that unless greater efforts are made to improve vaccination around the world, risks will continue to arise in different parts of the world.

Why did the World Health Organization call this new mutant omicron?

The World Health Organization uses letters of the Greek alphabet (such as alpha, beta, gamma and delta) to name the new mutant of the COVID-19 virus, as well as their scientific names, to make it easier for the general public to distinguish between them, while avoiding offending any cultural, social, national, regional, professional or ethnic.

Omicron is the fifteenth letter in the Greek alphabet.

What do we know about Omicron?

According to the statement of the Regional Office for the Eastern Mediterranean, the data are the following:

  • Transmissibility: It

    is not yet clear if omicron spreads more rapidly than other mutants, including the delta mutant.

    The number of people testing positive for this mutation has increased in South Africa, but studies are still underway to understand if this is due to omicron or other factors.

  • Severity of disease: It is

    not yet clear whether infection with Omicron causes more severe disease than infection with other mutant mutant, including Delta.

    There is currently no information to indicate that symptoms caused by Omicron are different from symptoms caused by other mutant mutants.

    And all Covid-19 mutant, including the delta mutant, can cause severe illness or death to the most vulnerable people, so prevention always remains the key.

  • Efficacy of previous infection:

    Preliminary data indicate a possible increased risk of re-infection with the omicron mutant compared to other mutants of concern, but information is still limited.

What are the future scenarios for the Omicron strain?

The first scenario is that Omicron is highly contagious, spreads all over the world and defeats all other mutant including Delta.

Thus, all new strains in the future will be Omicron descendants, Jesse Bloom, a professor at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle and a researcher at the Howard Hughes Institute, wrote in The New York Times. Medical- and Sarah Kobe is a professor in the Department of Ecology and Evolution at the University of Chicago.

There is another scenario, which is that Omicron spreads in certain regions of the world, and in the end it turns out to be less contagious than other mutant, and then disappears from the scene, which is what happened with both “Alpha” and “Beta” in the part first of 2021.

Whether "Omicron" wins over the rest of the strains or not, it seems that it will cause an increase in the number of infections around the world, and the results of this spread will be determined according to the level of immunity in each country, the strength of the health system, and government measures taken, in addition to natural factors such as seasonal changes and temperatures. And humidity, which are effects that scientists are still unable to understand well.

 And Omicron, even if it is highly contagious, but has a weak effect on the body, just like the Delta strain, if it spreads on a large scale, it will put pressure on hospitals, due to the high number of infected people.

But some measures can control the spread of strains and help counter them.

These measures include increasing the proportion of vaccinators, intensifying rapid tests, ensuring indoor ventilation, encouraging the wearing of masks, helping people to recognize symptoms of the disease early, and supporting them when they have to do self-isolation measures.

The authors say that there is evidence that obtaining a third dose increases the level of protection achieved earlier thanks to the vaccine.

Given the large number of mutations that have occurred in the Omicron strain, it may eventually be necessary to produce a new vaccine for this strain.

Will the immunity we have acquired be able to protect us from the dangerous symptoms of an Omicron infection?

Even if the antibodies fail to block Ommicron, the authors say, the "T cells" and other antibodies we've developed thanks to the vaccine and previous infection, may offer us some protection from developing dangerous symptoms.

This means that high rates of infection will not necessarily lead to high rates of death and hospitalization in the hospital, as happened in previous waves, but accurate measurement of this requires data collection, from health institutions and epidemiological studies centers after a period of time.

For example, it may be found later that Omicron causes mild symptoms in vaccinated and previously infected persons, but it may threaten the lives of those who do not have any immunity to it.

This may again lead to overcrowding of hospitals and the collapse of the health system.

Keywords: