It’s been almost a year since the first case of Omicron was detected. Since then, it has dominated all other COVID variants, including Delta. While the symptoms are said to be very similar to those caused by the original COVID-19 strain, the question still arises as to what makes an Omicron infection different from COVID-19.
An important distinction between COVID-19 and Omicron is that Omicron takes less time than the former to show symptoms in a patient. COVID-19 causes shortness of breath due to a lung infection. However, in the case of Omicron, the effect occurs due to infection in the upper respiratory tract. It mostly affects people's upper respiratory tracts, causing symptoms like sore throat, hoarse voice, and runny nose.
—Dr. Armando Meza, Chief of Infectious Disease at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, El Paso.
According to Dr. Roy Gullick, from the Weill Cornell Medical Center, New York, the tell-tale signs of Omicron infection are:
Symptoms can often be very vague. In fact, it has been found that COVID tests do not detect the exact strain. After the first strain of Omicron was detected, sub variants of Omicron quickly emerged, with BA.2 becoming the most prevalent strain in the spring and BA.5 becoming the most common by late summer. Later in the fall, B.Q.1 and B.Q.1.1 merged to become the most common forms of the virus in America. There are numerous omicron sub variants out there besides BA.5. These include XBB and BF.7, and yes, even BA.5.
The Omicron variants are super-infectious and can cause re-infection in many patients. Even people who have been immunized against COVID through double vaccination are at risk of infection from Omicron BF.7.
The reason why this happens has been found. The BF.7 mutant exhibits 4.4-fold stronger neutralization resistance than the original Wuhan virus, as reported in a study published in the journal Cell Host and Microbe. As a result, the COVID vaccine's protective antibodies are ineffective.
During the first omicron wave, people who were up-to-date on their original COVID shots had less severe symptoms. However, a revised Covid booster, which interferes with the BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants' spike proteins, was approved by the FDA in August.
It was later discovered that the updated booster dose is also effective against the 2019 Wuhan virus strain that was first discovered. A CDC report confirmed that updated vaccine boosters, especially for those 65 and older, were more beneficial than the original vaccine booster at reducing hospitalization. This revised booster was approved for use in December, and it is now recommended for children older than 6 months.
Dr. V. K. Paul, a member of India's NITI Aayog who focuses on health policy, reports that about 27–28% of the population has received the COVID-19 preventative shot so far. Recently, the number of COVID-19 cases reported from China, Japan, South Korea, France, and the United States has gone up in a scary way. In India 4 cases of Omicron BF.7 infections have been discovered.
Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya said,
While a definite solution to Micron has not yet been discovered, we can definitely mitigate the risks by following COVID-appropriate behavior. Also, complications from the sub variants can be avoided with proper vaccination and booster shots for COVIDs.
With the holidays and New Year's celebrations quickly approaching, it is more important than ever to act in accordance with COVID standards. The most basic things that can be done to stop the transmission of the virus include using a mask, keeping your distance from others, and washing your hands frequently.
During this time, many people in India fall victim to colds, coughs, and other forms of the seasonal disease. In any case, these signs are not to be disregarded. Get a COVID test done right away and isolate yourself if you or someone you know exhibits the aforementioned symptoms.