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Sanjeev Kumar Patro

News Highlights

  • As per researchers in the UK and South Africa, 14-days data showed that most Omicron infected individuals are either vaccinated or had a history of previous COVID infection. Since in either case, they have an immunity build-up, the Omicron infected individuals show mild signs. Only a fraction (who are immuno-comprised) shows severe infection

Even as the Omicron cases globally have shot up to touch 608, the initial studies by South Africa's research organisations like Centre for Epidemic Response and Innovation, SA-Medical Research Council and UK Health and Security Agency reveal big.

While the South Africa studies show that the symptoms of the new variant of concern are different from the Delta variant or old Covid-19 strain, the significant revelation by UKHS has been that the Omicron variant has a shorter incubation period - means the time period between contracting infection and showing of the symptoms in an individual is very short.

Earlier, the incubation period for the Delta variant was 4 days, whereas it was 5-7 days in other strains. The period for Omicron is just 2 days.

Risk Of Shorter Incubation

As per a study published in the Journal of Epidemiology, a shorter incubation period could be indicative of a higher infective dose, leading to faster/greater pathogen replication, out-running adaptive immune responses.

This show the Omicron variant has higher replication potential than Delta and Covid-19 prototype.

The above study results also clearly explained why the Omicron is having a higher transmissibility factor than the other variants.

Old Covid Symptoms

  • A high temperature (fever over 101 Deg F)
  • Continuous cough - means coughing more in an hour's time.
  • Loss or change in taste and smell.
  • Body aches.
  • Difficulty in breathing.
  • Diarrhoea
  • Rash on skin

Omicron Symptoms

As per the studies from South Africa, many Omicron infected individuals have shown only the following symptoms.

  • Continuous Weakness
  • Body Aches
  • Mild Headaches.
  • The predominant clinical complaint is severe fatigue for 24-48 hours.

Therefore, experts in South Africa have cautioned that any individual showing the above symptoms sans fever, cold and cough, should go for a COVID RT-PCR test. Because you could be infected with Omicron.

Why Omicron Symptoms Mild?

As per researchers in the UK and South Africa, 14-days data showed that most Omicron infected individuals are either vaccinated or had a history of previous COVID infection. Since in either case, they have an immunity build-up, the Omicron infected individuals show mild signs. Only a fraction (who are immuno-comprised) shows severe infection.

The WHO, US-CDC and ECDC have earlier informed that a vaccinated individual may contact the COVID19 disease but the clinical manifestation will remain mild, not severe.

Impact On India And Odisha

Epidemiological studies on Omicron show that it has mild clinical manifestation in vaccinated (means fully vaccinated) individuals. Since only around 50 percent adult population in India have been fully vaccinated, the risk remains high for the country.

Moreover, as per the report of the American Academy of Paediatricians, the Covid-19 (all variants) infection among children is very high. In the given backdrop, the unvaccinated population in the O-17 years age group doubles the Omicron risk, given its faster spread.

Odisha: As of today, nearly 54 percent of the adult population in the State are fully vaccinated. Still, over 46 percent of the adult population are yet to be fully inoculated. Besides, the population in the age group of 0-17 years remain unvaccinated. Together they hold the high risk.

The Key Takeaway

The risk of Omicron in Odisha and India is tied up not only with the pace of vaccination but also universal immunisation against the virus. In the given backdrop, COVID appropriate behaviour is the only preventive measure to strike down the Omicron attack.

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