With the new Covid super-variant Omicron, which is said to be the most advanced form of the virus, having a high transmission rate forcing multiple countries to shut international borders over fears of importing infections, some good news has finally surfaced. According to a German health expert, the new strain could be a 'Christmas gift' if it causes less severe symptoms. The expert's claims have come after South African doctors informed that Omicron infected cases have comparatively milder symptoms than the Delta variant. Omicron was first detected in South Africa.
South African doctors have claimed that the new super-variant of Coronavirus is causing mild symptoms, such as a headache and tiredness, and not a single case led to hospitalization or death. According to the DailyMail, a clinical epidemiologist, Professor Karl Lauterbach said that early reports have indicated that Omicron might even speed up the end of the pandemic. Lauterbach is in the race to become Germany's next health minister.
Professor Lauterbach noted that its multiple mutations, 32 on the Spike Protein alone, vaguely point to the fact that it is optimized to infect while being less lethal. An infectious diseases expert at the University of East Anglia, Professor Paul Hunter backed the said theory and noted that high levels of previous infection and vaccination could offer protection against the strain. Prof Hunter further called it a 'positive sign' because it depicts that the new variant is not totally unrecognizable to the immune system of COVID survivors or vaccinated people.
More time is needed to determine the impact of Omicron
Experts have warned for a long time that COVID might never be eradicated but could transition into a milder virus, like Cold. However, another two weeks time is needed to accurately determine the impact that Omicron will have, as it is yet to see whether its mutations make it more infectious and resistant to vaccines. Also, most cases of Omicron have been seen in younger people, who experience symptoms of less severity from the virus. Experts, however, have warned that the severity of the symptoms from the Omicron variant might differ as it spreads to the older age.
'No need to panic'
Dr. Angelique Coetzee, chair of the South African Medical Association told BBC's Andrew Marr Show that the panic caused by the Omicron variant is unnecessary. "There's no need to panic at this stage." Dr. Coetzee holds the credit of first spotting the new strain in a patient.