Omicron is a new variant of the virus that causes COVID-19. The World Health Organization declared it a ‘variant of concern’ on 26 November 2021.
The Omicron variant appears to bypass some immunity but vaccines are still capable to offer protection against severe diseases according to the latest data from South Africa.
The variant is quickly becoming the dominant variant in South Africa and fears regarding the efficacy of vaccines are ensuing. It has also been detected in several other countries, including Australia.
Scientists say, the symptoms reported early were mild as the cases were mostly reported in younger age groups but older age groups are also becoming the target of this variant.
The new variant has been detected in five out of nine South African provinces and was likely to be present all over the country, as per the latest official report released on Wednesday.
Is the virus spreading fast?
The daily number of reported cases doubled to 8,561. However, it is yet to find out how many of those cases were of the new variant. This is because not all test samples are subject to genomic sequencing.
Official presentations said, ” Omicron was rapidly becoming the dominant variant.”
Strength of the virus
Most of the infected cases were of mild nature in Omicron cases, said South African doctors.
“The mutation profile and epidemiological picture suggests Omicron is able to get around some of our immune protection (causing infection) but the protection against severe disease and death from vaccines should be less affected,” the latest report stated.