• Thu. Jan 27th, 2022

Omicron variant “has become worrying”: vaccines and symptoms, what we know

Byeditorial

Dec 4, 2021

The Omicron variant “has become worrying”. The data on the characteristics of the latest variant of the covid in relation to symptoms and vaccines – while in Italy the ninth national case is identified in South Tyrol – do not yet produce definitive judgments but the level of attention rises. While the infections increase, the words of the president of Aifa, Professor Giorgio Palù arrive. “Omicron is a variant that has become worrying, because it has 38 mutations and above all it has all those mutations in protein S which, in the variants preceding this one, are related to immunoevasiveness and greater contagiousness”, he tells Sky Tg24. Read also The Omicron variant is therefore a candidate to be more contagious than Delta, currently dominant, and threatens the effectiveness of vaccines. The Omicron variant also “also has 23 other mutations elsewhere in the genome, some of which are important because they are linked to genes that regulate virus replication,” he adds. Spotlights turned on, therefore, waiting for certainties: “What we have to look at carefully, however, is that it takes some time to do the right experiments. For example, to verify if it is more immune-evasive, we need to reconstruct a chimeric virus that has on its surface the molecule S, for this it will take a couple of weeks “. SALEN ALARM LEVEL The words of Professor Alessandro Vespignani do not go unnoticed. “International agencies are raising the alarm level with respect to Omicron. This is not because they enjoy agitating politics and markets. They do so on the analysis of results that preliminarily begin to circulate among insiders”, highlights the physicist in a series of tweets to clarify the Omicron variant. “This is not alarmism, but an assessment of the epidemiological risk that emerges from the discussion of hundreds of scientists of all disciplines, policy makers etc. Science is not what scientist Y or scientist Z thinks. Science is a collective process” , Vespignani points out. “It should be clear that public health agencies do not work by looking at the graphs and statements on Twitter. As soon as the alert went off, the agencies mobilized hundreds of scientists, work groups, etc. who began to produce analyzes”, writes the lecturer at Northeastern University. “These results, rightly and with a sense of responsibility, are not all disseminated on the media / social networks unless they are definitive and solid. However, this does not mean that after more than a week there are preliminary analyzes and data that are discussed carefully. Unfortunately. at the moment many of these analyzes, certainly to be confirmed, do not have a positive sign – he notes – Together with the dispersion of the variant (hundreds of cases / 35 countries – and this is only the tip of the iceberg), the agencies are going to strengthen the of alert “.” I assure, the agencies can’t wait to back down if good news emerges (we all hope so and important information is still missing). For now, however – reiterates the physicist – it is their duty to convey the request for attention ‘that emerges from the work of the scientific community “. OMICRON VARIANT IN EUROPE, THE DATA The European budget of the variant is contained in the numbers of the ECDC, European Center for the prevention and control of diseases: another 58 positive cases in EU countries and in the European economic area (Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein), for a total of 167 cases so far, in 17 states. In Italy, the cases detected are still 9; Portugal, which retains strong ties with Angola and Mozambique, former colonies, is the one that registers the most, 34. Luxembourg reports its first case, while other “probable” cases of Omicron are under scrutiny in several countries. of the positives to the variant discovered in South Africa traveled to the Continent, with the exception of the infections sequenced in Belgium, Germany, Spain. All cases for which indications are available on the intensity of symptoms are asymptomatic or mild, confirms the ECDC. So far, no deaths have been recorded among the positives to the Omicron variant, although, the Stockholm-based agency warns, the number of cases is too low to understand whether the spectrum of symptoms caused by the variant differs from that of the previous ones or not. versions of Sars-CoV-2. OMICRON AND COOLING VARIANT “The new variant that has perhaps unjustly terrorized the world, has acquired a ‘piece’ of the common cold virus. This explains why it would give milder clinical pictures, compared to the Delta, much similar to colds “, is the annotation of Professor Matteo Bassetti, director of the Infectious Diseases Clinic at the Policlinico San Martino in Genoa, who reports on Facebook an international study still in preprint. According to the results obtained by the researchers, explains Bassetti, “Thanks to this addition of the genetic material of the cold virus, Omicron is more ‘human’ and less animal than the initial SarsCoV2. easily to our immune system that does not recognize it as totally foreign. This is a very interesting research which, if confirmed, would show for the first time – underlines the infectious disease specialist – that the Covid virus is spontaneously weakening, losing its initial strength to cause serious diseases. At this point it is almost to be hoped that Omicron will supplant the Delta and the other previous variants. It may also be more contagious, but if it looks so much like a cold… “.

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