According to health experts, the Omicron variant causes very mild symptoms among people.
The world is on high alert with the emergence of the recent Omicron variant. The strain, labelled as a variant of concern last week, has caused multiple countries to impose travel bans. Scientists are worried that the heavily mutated strain could likely be more transmissible and deadlier than previous variants. Although there’s still a lot not known about the Omicron variant, most cases have shown mild symptoms.
In a recent interview with Reuters, Dr. Angelique Coetzee of the South African Medical Association recalled that most of the patients at her clinic have displayed only mild symptoms. Dr. Coetzee was one of the first South African doctors to suspect a new strain among the patients. According to the practitioner, most patients have presented with fatigue, body aches, and headaches. Moreover, unlike the Delta variant, there have been no cases of loss of smell or taste or dropping oxygen saturation levels.
Dr. Coetzee further reported that the majority of Omicron cases occurred in people younger than 40 and those not vaccinated.
Will Vaccines Work?
The emergence of the new variant has caused people to debate vaccine effectiveness against Omicron. Both Pfizer and Moderna have predicted that the vaccines will no longer work against the heavily mutated strain. However, there’s currently not enough data to determine vaccine efficacy. Moreover, current reports do not show reduced vaccine effectiveness against the new strain.
In response to the emergence of the Omicron variant, more than 50 countries have implemented travel bans on foreigners from South African countries. However, the move has been discouraged by leading health experts, including the World Health Organization (WHO). Many have labelled travel bans as a political move by Western countries, rather than one backed by science.