January 17, 2022

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Radio station in Guantanamo, Cuba

Radio station in Guantanamo, Cuba

The Omicron variant was reported by the South African authorities to the World Health Organization (WHO) last week and declared of concern last Friday by the WHO, but the truth is that time is too short to know in depth how it works.

The first information seems to indicate greater transmissibility and risk of reinfection than other variants, given the large number of mutations (more than 50), and it is these details that prompted the World Health Organization to quickly include it in the list of worrying variants, but scientists warn that it needs To a more accurate study, it takes at least a few weeks to get a more accurate picture.

Today we present to you, in clear and concise language, everything that is known so far about this new alternative.

How and where was it discovered?

It was Dr Angelique Coetzee, President of the South African Medical Association, who gave the first warning voice about the possibility of this new alternative, after treating a small group of patients with very mild symptoms, different from those already linked to COVID-19 who tested positive. virus.

Since the specialist works on the South African Department of Health’s Vaccine Advisory Committee, it was very easy for her to notice this variety of symptoms and make an alert call.

What symptoms have been recorded?

This variant of Sars-CoV-2, experts repeat, needs better study. But so far, the symptoms reported in those infected with it have been described as “very mild,” he explained to international media.

In fact, Dr. Coetzee herself believes that it would be very easy to transmit the disease at home and associate it with any other cause.

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It is also believed that it is possible that it already exists in many countries undetected.

The first patient diagnosed with it “had a little bit of a headache, had no sore throat, and described it more as itching, no coughing, and no loss of taste or smell.”

In which countries was it actually discovered?

It was first identified, as mentioned, in South Africa, but cases have already been reported in the Netherlands, Australia, Germany, Italy, Israel, Hong Kong, the United Kingdom and Brazil, and specialists believe that it is very likely that it can be found in many more countries.

It surpassed the first cases reported in Latin America this week with the diagnosis of two Brazilians, a 41-year-old man and a 37-year-old woman, who traveled from South Africa to Sao Paulo, Brazil on November 23.

The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) is currently analyzing the specific situation of the continent with respect to the new variable, and has warned of an increase in COVID-19 infections in many countries in the region.

What protection can vaccines provide against this variant?

Experts continue to answer this question with one word: time. It is necessary to carefully study the effect that vaccines already developed for immunization against this particular variant could have.

It has also been cautioned from the start that the main weapon of immunization is that vaccination is being fairly developed all over the world, especially since Africa is not following the epic in the process.

To talk about reasonable levels of immunity, experts note, more than 80 percent of the world’s population should receive the full schedule of known vaccines.

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For now, Cuba has not wasted a minute and this week reported that it is already working on a specific vaccine against Omicron.

“We are already designing specific vaccines. If necessary, we will develop them in a short time,” confirmed, via his Twitter account, Dr. Eduardo Martinez Diaz, President of BioCubaFarma.

Martinez Diaz recommended in another tweet that the most important thing at the moment is to continue the vaccination strategy, including the booster dose that has been in place since last November, as well as maintain health prevention and control measures.

In short, known vaccines remain the best weapon to avoid hospitalization and death from any COVID-19 infection.

In the coming days and weeks, we should know more about Ómicron and get the results of preliminary studies conducted by the World Health Organization and renowned universities and research institutions, which call for new cases to be documented as quickly as possible.

For now, the keywords are still prevention and immunization.