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Why Might Omicron Be Dangerous, and How Is It Different to Other COVID Variants?


Manwon Lender
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Scientists are assessing the potential threat posed by the Omicron variant of COVID, which has been capturing headlines worldwide over the past few days. The variant was classified as a variant of concern (VOC) by the World Health Organization (WHO) on Friday after scientists had been voicing concern about it for several days. At the moment nothing is certain about Omicron, including how fast it spreads, how effective vaccines are against it, and whether it causes more severe disease compared with other variants.

 

No other variant in the history of the pandemic has been classified as a VOC so soon after its discovery; the first confirmed Omicron case was on November 9, 2021, according to the WHO. Delta, the variant that was effective enough to become largely dominant worldwide, wasn't classified as a VOC for months following its first reported case. So why could that make it more dangerous? When our immune systems target COVID, they produce little molecules called antibodies that essentially fit onto the spike protein of the virus and prevent it from entering our cells and making us sick.

But when the virus mutates, the spike protein changes. That means antibodies are no longer able to attach to it as well as before. The more changes there are to the spike protein, the harder it may be for existing antibodies to work. Antibodies are produced either by vaccines or previous infections. The concern is that existing antibodies might not be as compatible with Omicron as they are with other variants, which would mean that Omicron would make someone sick more easily even if they had previously had COVID or a vaccine.

Why Might Omicron Be Dangerous, and How Is It Different to Other COVID Variants? (newsweek.com)

 

 

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Since New Years a lot of friends have come down with Omicron. I posted this in another thread, but I'll put it here also. 

My BFF, an RN, got sick with Covid right after New Years. Not just her but her husband and her daughter too. All double vaccinated. Another friend of ours, also an RN is just getting over it. Also, her son, her daughter and her mother. Again, all double vaccinated. The whole family got sick. Some not real bad, some worse. 

I haven't heard of any more yet, but it seems this virus has a large presence in my area right now and it sounds very contagious. It's a whole different ballgame.

Edited by susieice
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My wife and I spent about 2 full weeks with cough, fatigue, and head aches.  We still cough at times but I'm hoping this was Omicron for us.  

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