ye-public-hai-sab-jaanti-hai
  1. You Are At:
  2. English News
  3. India
  4. Omicron Covid variant spooks the world, should you be scared? AIIMS Director Randeep Guleria explains

Omicron Covid variant spooks the world, should you be scared? AIIMS Director Randeep Guleria explains

The new, and potentially more contagious variant, was first reported to the World Health Organization (WHO) from South Africa on November 24.

India TV News Desk Edited by: India TV News Desk
New Delhi Updated on: November 29, 2021 15:09 IST
A health worker administers a dose of COVID-19 vaccine to
Image Source : PTI/FILE

A health worker administers a dose of COVID-19 vaccine to an elderly woman in Chennai.

Highlights

  • The new, and potentially more contagious variant, was first reported to the WHO
  • Several countries have banned international flights fearing Omicron's impact.
  • AIIMS chief Dr Randeep Guleria says efficacy of vaccines against Omicron needs to be evaluated.

Omicron variant of COVID-19 latest news: Since the beginning of the pandemic, several mutations of the COVID-19 virus have emerged across the world. Researchers and doctors have previously labelled the Delta variant as the most dangerous of all Covid variants. Now, the new Covid variant -  B.1.1.529 or Omicron - has the world worried. A few reports claimed that Omicron could be much more deadly than the Delta variant. 

The new, and potentially more contagious variant, was first reported to the World Health Organization (WHO) from South Africa on November 24. It has since been identified in Botswana, Belgium, Hong Kong and Israel among other countries.

However, the World Health Organization (WHO) is unsure whether Omicron can cause big damage. It is 'not yet clear' whether the newly-detected COVID-19 variant Omicron is more transmissible or causes more severe disease compared to other variants, including the highly-transmissible and globally prevalent Delta variant, the WHO said.

It added that there is currently no information to suggest that symptoms associated with Omicron are different from those from other variants. 

Omicron - Why you should be worried

All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) New Delhi chief Dr Randeep Guleria said the new Omicron variant of coronavirus has reportedly got over 30 mutations in the spike protein region giving it the potential to develop a immunoescape mechanism, and thus the efficacy of vaccines against it needs to be evaluated critically.

The presence of spike protein facilitates a virus’ entry into the host cell and is responsible for making it transmissible and causing infection.

"The new variant of coronavirus reportedly has got more than 30 mutations at the spike protein region and therefore has the potential of developing immunoescape mechanisms. As most vaccines (work by) forming antibodies against the spike protein, so many mutations at the spike protein region may lead to a decreased efficacy of COVID-19 vaccines," Guleria told news agency PTI.

Underlining that surveillance of international travellers is of utmost importance, Dr Guleria said, "We must ask everyone to religiously follow Coivd-appropriate behaviour and not let their guards down. Also, it has to be ensured that people get both the doses of vaccine and those who have not yet taken the jab are encouraged to come forward to take it."

(With inputs from PTI)

ALSO READ: Omicron outbreak: International passengers arriving at Lucknow airport to undergo RT-PCR test, home quarantine

Latest India News

Write a comment