December 6, 2023

NVT Health

Health Blog

How dangerous is Omicron Covid-19 Variant?

Over two years in the Covid-19 pandemic, the world is still not back to its usual form. The virus is still out there and continues to mutate, although various measures were already put in place to limit the spread, if not totally prevent the infection. Omicron (โอมิครอน, this is the term in Thai) is the latest variant and is spreading rapidly, especially in the United Kingdom and South Africa. 

What makes omicron dangerous is the fact that it can evade the immunity of people who were previously infected and vaccinated against Covid-19. The transmission rate is also higher when compared with the typical Covid-19. In other words, the omicron variant has the ability to push Covid-19 into the worst phase. If not dealt with properly, it could lead to increased hospitalizations and death. 

Omicron- Dangerous and prolific

Of all Covid-19 variants, omicron is by far the most dangerous and prolific because of the nature of the mutation. In the omicron variant alone, there are nearly 50 mutations, way higher when compared to the original SARS-Cov-2 virus. The virus’ spike protein makes it deadlier, the part of the virus that gets in contact with the human cells. Once they contact the human cells, they immediately target the immune system. As the body responds, it will release antibodies and will attach to the spike protein to stop it from causing harm to the body. 

The mutation part takes place in the spike protein. From there, a total of 36 mutations take place. The mutation includes the spike section that directly connects to the human cells’ ACE2 causing severe infections to the cells. Not only will it cause severe Covid-19 infection, but it will also heighten the reproduction and transmission rate. Other parts of the spike protein of omicron have mutations too. This makes it more difficult to control. The human cells’ antibodies will have a hard time recognizing the virus. Before it can recognize the virus, it has already caused severe damage to the body, thus, making omicron prolific and deadly. 

Treatment for omicron variant

The Omicron variant is quite difficult to treat, especially when it has already caused severe damage to the body. The usual treatment for covid-19, such as convalescent plasma and monoclonal antibodies, is less effective. So far, the most effective treatment and management for omicron include antibody therapy and sotrovimab. Antiviral drugs play a vital role in managing omicron as they are effective in altering the replication of the virus. However, for this treatment management to be effective, they should be used during the early stage of infection. 

Hence, it is of utmost importance to detect the infection at the earliest possible time. Early detection is the key to effective management of covid-19 cases regardless of the variant. In fact, early detection applies to all types of diseases and illnesses. Prevention is another way of protecting one’s self from omicron. People are highly encouraged to get vaccinated against Covid-19 and to not hesitate to have a booster dose. That way, the body will have optimum protection from all types of covid-19 variants. Covid-19 is far from over, but it is manageable with early detection and observing preventive measures.