13 Facts About Omicron variant


Name of the Omicron variant has occasionally been mistaken as "Omnicron" among some English speakers, due to a lack of familiarity with the Greek alphabet, and the relative frequency of the Latin prefix "omni" in other common speech.

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The Omicron variant is characterised by 30 amino acid changes, three small deletions, and one small insertion in the spike protein compared with the original virus, of which 15 are located in the receptor-binding domain.

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Additionally, the Omicron variant has three mutations at the furin cleavage site which facilitate transmission of the virus.

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On 24 November 2021, the Omicron variant was first reported to the WHO from South Africa based on samples that had been collected from 14 to 16 November.

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Likely Omicron variant samples had occurred on 4 November 2021 in Pretoria, South Africa.

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CEPI CEO Richard Hatchett said that the Omicron variant fulfilled predictions that transmission of the virus in low-vaccination areas would accelerate its evolution.

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In preparation for the Omicron variant arriving in the United States, President Joe Biden has stated that the variant is "cause for concern, not panic" and reiterated that the government is prepared for the variant and will have it under control.

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Omicron variant said that the Omicron variant of COVID-19 is "probably the most significant threat since the start of the pandemic", and that the number of cases in the next few days would be "quite staggering compared to the rate of growth that we've seen in cases for previous variants".

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Studies showed the Omicron variant to escape the majority of existing SARS-CoV-2 neutralizing antibodies, including those in sera from vaccinated and convalescent individuals.

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In contrast to other investigated variants, Omicron showed substantial, population-level, evasion of immunity from prior infection as well as a higher ability to evade immunity induced by vaccines.

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On 20 December 2021, a report by the Imperial College COVID-19 Response Team, based on data from England, found that hospitalisation and asymptomatic infection indicators were not significantly associated with Omicron variant infection, suggesting at most limited changes in severity compared with Delta.

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In November 2021, the transmissibility of the Omicron variant, as compared to the Delta variant or other variants of the COVID-19 virus, was still uncertain.

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Sequencing data suggests that Omicron had become the dominant variant in South Africa by November 2021, the same month where it had been first identified in the country.

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