3 minutes agoWriters: Abhishek Pandey

The new variant of Corona found in South Africa has stunned the world. Keeping this new variant of Corona in the category of Variant of Concern (VoC), WHO has named it Omicron. It is believed to be the most mutating variant of Corona ever. This is the reason why scientists are calling it ‘scary’. This variant has been described as more mutational and faster spreading than the delta variant that caused the second wave in India and the third wave in many countries of the world.

Let us know how effective is the vaccine against the new dangerous variant of Corona? How at risk are vaccinated people from this new variant? What has WHO said about this? How dangerous can Omicron be for India? And what preparations has India made to deal with Omicron?

What do we know about the new variant of Corona?

  • Corona’s new variant B.1.1.529 has been named Omicron by WHO, keeping it in the category of Variants of Concern. According to WHO, the first case of Omicron was found in South Africa on 24 November 2021.
  • Omicron is a very fast mutating variant that has already carried more than 50 mutations. Also, there have been more than 30 mutations in its spike protein. It is through the spike protein that the virus opens the entrance to human cells and that helps it to spread and spreads the infection. The target of most vaccines is also the spike protein.
  • There have also been more than 10 mutations in the receptor binding domain of Omicron, while only two mutations occurred in the worldwide panic delta variant. The receptor binding domain is the part of the virus that first comes into contact with the cells of the human body.
  • Within a few days of getting the first case in South Africa, Omicron’s cases have been found in 13 countries including Africa as well as the continents of Europe and Australia.
  • Cases of Omicron have been reported in 13 countries including South Africa, Australia, Belgium, Botswana, UK, Denmark, Germany, Hong Kong, Israel, Italy, Netherlands, France, Canada and South Africa. It is a matter of concern that all four cases reported in Botswana have been reported in fully vaccinated people.
  • It is believed that 90 percent of the cases in Gauteng province of South Africa may already be from Omicron and this could mean the presence of this new variant in other provinces of South Africa as well.
  • According to experts, Omicron came from a patient whose body had been in it for a long time and his immune system failed to beat it. According to initial reports, it came from a person infected with HIV/AIDS.
  • Experts believe that Omicron has six times the spreading potential (R value) as compared to Delta.

How effective is the vaccine against Omicron?

  • All four cases of Omicron found in Botswana have been reported in people who had received both doses of corona. That is, the new variant is also infecting vaccinated people.
  • The ineffectiveness of the vaccine on Omicron is also being talked about because the corona vaccine was made keeping in mind the original strain of corona virus originating from Wuhan, China, while Omicron is different from that strain.
  • Also, due to 30 mutations in the spike protein of Omicron itself, it can also dodge the vaccine. The target of the vaccine is also the spike protein, but mutations occurring in Omicron can make the vaccine completely ineffective or very less effective on it.

This is the reason that it is being feared that it is also possible that the vaccine may not be effective against the new variant of Corona.

What has the WHO said about the effect of the vaccine on Omicron?

Regarding the effect of the vaccine on Omicron, WHO Chief Scientist Soumya Swaminathan said in a conversation with Dainik Bhaskar, “There is no variant that makes the vaccine completely ineffective.”

‘If the body has antibodies due to the vaccine prepared for any variant of the virus, then it will definitely protect against the virus. The vaccine does reduce the firepower of each variant to some extent. But it cannot be completely neutralised. ” Therefore, people who have not yet been vaccinated should get it done without delay, because such people are at the highest risk of infection with Omicron.

Regarding the effect of the vaccine on Omicron, AIIMS Director Dr Randeep Guleria has said that due to more than 30 mutations in the spike protein of Omicron, all the current vaccines need to be immediately assessed against it.

How dangerous can Omicron be for India?

Cases of Omicron have also been found in people who were fully vaccinated. In such a situation, it can be a matter of concern for a huge country like India. So far, more than 1 billion 22 crore corona doses have been applied in India. Of these, more than 78 crore (56 per cent) people have received a single dose of corona, while 43 crore (32 per cent) people have received both doses of corona.

Only 32 percent of India’s population being fully vaccinated is a matter of concern for us. There are about 120 million people in India who have not vaccinated even after the date of the second dose has passed. The carelessness of such people can also prove to be dangerous with the arrival of a new variant of Corona like Omicron.

Who is most at risk from Omicron?

Like other variants of corona, those people who have not yet administered a single dose of corona vaccine are at highest risk of infection from Omicron. It is worth noting that if Omicron can happen to vaccinated people, then people who have taken a single dose of corona or have not yet taken a single dose are many times more at risk of getting infected with it.

What preparations has India made to deal with Omicron?

In view of the seriousness of Omicron, the Government of India has started preparations to deal with it. PM Modi has held an emergency meeting regarding this new variant of Corona, while the Union Health Ministry has issued advisory to all the states regarding vigilance against Omicron.

In view of the threat of Omicron, the government has ordered strict screening and testing of passengers coming to India from all those places including South Africa, Botswana and Hong Kong, where this new variant of Corona has spread.

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