People infected with the omicron variant of the new coronavirus may have a tendency to show mild or no symptoms, although the infectivity of the variant may be stronger than that of the delta variant, according to experts.
Experts are quick to analyze the omicron variant after many reports that people fully vaccinated against COVID-19 were infected with the variant.
The omicron variant, first reported in South Africa, is spreading rapidly around the world. The new variant is rapidly replacing the delta variant as the leading cause of cases in South Africa, suggesting its strong contagion.
The risk of people developing severe symptoms after being infected with the omicron variant is unknown, but some data show that patients usually have mild symptoms.
According to the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control in the European Union, 109 cases of omicron infection had been found in 16 countries as of Friday, and all infected people had mild or no symptoms, with no reports. of death.
The two people who tested positive for the omicron variant at controls at Narita International Airport in Chiba Prefecture also had mild symptoms, although they have a fever, according to the health ministry.
Takaji Wakita, head of the National Institute of Infectious Diseases, warns against making a hasty judgment about the risk of people infected with the omicron variant developing severe symptoms.
However, another expert said that if the risk of getting seriously ill after infection with the omicron variant is the same as the delta and other variants, people may not need to take additional countermeasures other than usual precautions to wear face masks and avoid closed. , crowdfunding and close contact configurations, even if community infections with the new variant occur.
Advanced infection is another feature of the omicron variant.
The omicron variant has about 30 mutations in the ear protein, which allows the virus to enter human cells, far more than about 10 for the delta variant, according to the NIID. Due to the large number of mutations, vaccinations and antibodies that have developed in past infections may become ineffective against the new variant.
In fact, the two people who were found to be infected with the omicron variant in Japan had received two doses of the coronavirus vaccine, including that of the American pharmaceutical giant Pfizer Inc.
“Innovative infections can occur with the delta variant. We need to look a little further at the situation to see if vaccines are less effective,” against the omicron variant, compared to the delta variant, Wakita said.
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covid-19 in Japan, variants of COVID-19