Coronavirus disease COVID-19

Coronavirus

Covid-19 is a virus and since it has been identified, different variants have emerged. It first appeared in December 2019 which was later named SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) -COV-2, and since then it has caused many deaths worldwide, even among survivors, the virus has left many long-term diseases.

This coronavirus is similar to the one that caused the SARS outbreak in 2003 that was named SARS-COV-1. But the Cov-19 virus is faster and more deadly than the Cov-2003.

COVID-19, an infectious disease

This virus transmits very quickly from one person to the other. A person with coronavirus remains infected to others for 10-20 days unless they take all precautions seriously.

However, the covid-19 vaccine has been administered all over the world and many people have been vaccinated so far. Besides that, many other precautions have also been taken including wearing a mask, keeping hands sanitized, and maintaining a reasonable distance from each other.

World health organization (WHO) is bringing together health experts from around the world to increase research and is promoting new principles to control the coronavirus pandemic.

WHO is working mechanically with partners to manufacture effective vaccines for the safety of people, but for the time to come, nothing can be claimed yet about the long-run consequences of vaccination.

So we just have to keep wearing masks, ensure good ventilation indoors and avoid getting physical in crowds.

WHO has divided coronavirus variants into two main categories, which are

VOC spreads so quickly and easily. Not only does this increase the transmissibility but it also increases the severity of disease as well as chances of hospitalization and deaths. A variant of concern reduces the efficacy of public health measures, vaccinations, and diagnostics.

VOI represents a significant genetic mutation that is linked with changes to receptors binding, a decrease in neutralization by antibodies produced against infections, and a predicted increase in disease intensity. Identification of this variant leads to significant community transmission.

COVID Variants (Mutations)

Variations of viruses take place when there’s a change or mutation in the genes of the virus. It is the characteristic of all the RNA (ribonucleic acid) viruses including coronavirus to evolve and change over time.

Likewise, the influenza virus which is also an enveloped, RNA virus changes frequently. Like coronavirus, the influenza virus mutates every year, also its symptoms are similar to that of the COVID-19.

That’s why doctors update its vaccine on an annual basis. It’s just that, unlike corona, the influenza virus hasn’t received much attention from the media.

The DELTA variant is considered ‘’a variant of concern’’ by WHO as it seems to spread more smoothly among multiple people.

By September 2021, the delta virus was considered to be the most contagious form of SARS-Cov-2. Besides that, alpha, beta, gamma variants were also classified as a ‘variant of concern’ until the current variant Omicron was identified.

Omicron variant

On 26 November 2021, another strain of coronavirus was designated by WHO and was named omicron variant (B.1.1.529). Originated in South Africa, the variant has been listed as the most contagious form so far.

This variant has now spread to various countries including Germany, France, Italy, Scotland, Belgium, etc. In fact, the omicron virus has appeared to some extent in every major country.

This variant mostly affects people between the age group of the 20s–30s. Hardly, a few days have passed since scientists warned the world against the rapidly expanding COVID strain, now called omicron.

Researchers around the world are trying their best to figure out the dangers posed by this variant to the world.

Because of its recent appearance, scientists are still in the process of learning about the variant’s transferability, extremity, and severity.

But the research is increasingly revealing more insights on this variant and how its genetic mutations might affect its spread and the people it affects.

Symptoms to be observed

Some doctors say that the symptoms of this variant are very mild including headache, body aches, energy loss, extreme exhaustion, and scratchy throat rather than a sore throat.

Although the two may be similar to some extent, the former is more associated with the swallowing of the throat while the latter is more hurting. Mild fever is also one of the symptoms of this variant that goes away on its own.

But like the rest of the COVID variants, neither the sense of smell nor taste is lost in the omicron variant. But this information isn’t confirmed right now, it could be misleading though.

This variant is still in its earlier stage and everyone is trying to keep us informed but can’t say anything with certainty.

Why omicron is called a (variant of concern)

There are multiple amino acids on the structure of the omicron variant. These acids are just like spikes that are projecting out from this virus known as spikes amino acids. Protein is formed by the joining of these acids.

All the spikes are located on the surface of the virus which interacts directly with the host cell and begins to show symptoms.

Red dots that are found on the top of the viruses are actually mutations. If we compare the dots of the DELTA virus with the dots of the OMICRON virus, there’s a great difference.

This means the number of mutations of the omicron variant is much greater than the delta variant. That’s why scientists consider this variant to be more deadly to life and more contagious than the variants that appeared before.

Because of these heavy mutations, it is being speculated that the vaccines administered against this variant in the future, would not be very effective.

Transmissibility

Delta variant has been dominant so far, as most of the deaths from coronavirus in the last two years have been due to this variant.

In the case of omicron, more than 50 mutations have been observed in this variant, of which 30 are found on the spike protein. These spikes cause the virus to spread throughout the body

As we’ve already discussed that the number of mutations of the omicron virus is much higher than that of the delta, so scientists are having this concerned that this newly occurred variant could be even more dangerous than all the previous forms.

But nothing could be claimed yet, as different studies are still underway to determine whether the Omicron is more transferable.

Keep in mind

Although, it’s also been noticed that the viruses that are more transmissible are not necessarily more fatal at all. As in general, this is not the case.

So let this new version of COVID-19 be fully researched first and then see what information we will get regarding its characteristics.

So don’t panic, do your best to control the transmissibility of this virus, and take all precautionary measures as much as possible.

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