The Omicron variation is amazing. Here’s How Science Solves

Since last Friday, the competition was on_for the virus and more about it. And for a while, the information went fast, even though there was nothing.

Scientists in South Africa have identified a new strain of the virus that causes Covid-19 – in a few days the World Health Organization has named it Omicron – and due to the large number of mutations in its protein, the nanomechanical tentacle. sticking and tearing into cells, scientific alarms began to sound.

But to make it clear, they were “We need to watch this” alarms, not “Everyone has lost their minds” alarms. Apparently it sounds the same, however. Fear fled when scientists discovered Omicron inside 18 countries, to initiate travel restrictions, closing the border, market breakdown, and, in the United States, at the end of the holiday week worries that the world will return to March 2020. Investigators in South Africa and Botswana have found more cases so far, although this could be a research project; On Tuesday, Dutch authorities announced that the first case they could identify was 11 days, prior to the Omicron recognition in South Africa.

This means that Omicron variations are common and inexplicable – palimpsest wrapped in a hologram wrapped in a Rorschach test – because no one still knows. Health officials can still say whether it is more dangerous or contagious than the Delta, which since last summer has been infected with several strains of SARS-CoV-2. So fear; or not. It’s up to you. Because now scientists have to solve this problem.

Scientific material I don’t know, but I need: How does Omicron move from person to person? Can it prevent the effects of the original disease, or vaccine? Does it cause serious illness? “We need more data,” says Angela Rasmussen, a coronavirologist at the Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization-International Vaccine Center in Saskatchewan, Canada. This means gaining more genomic and epidemiological information, understanding the differences in the immune system, and compiling statistics on successful infections and hospitalization.

It will all be complicated, because important information is missing: How long has Omicron spread around the world. New Dutch data show it has been longer than health care workers expect. Whether it’s the beginning of the waves – or the middle or the end of which no one has ever seen – it matters. “It appears to have been captured at the beginning of the turmoil, at a time when everyone was just looking at the Delta,” said John Connor, a Boston University scientist and researcher at the National Emerging Infectious Diseases Laboratories. “The great thing about having this initial knowledge is that the whole world can begin to examine all the questions posed by the new species: Do our detectors still work? Does it seem that the immune system developed by the vaccine can still eradicate the virus?”

If this is only the beginning, let’s say, then everyone with an Omicron can be one cohesive group, depending on demographics or nature. This can make the difference appear dangerous – moving too fast or making people sick – if the group was at risk for reasons other than the population size. Or the opposite may be true. To find out, forensic pathologists can perform “forensic accounting” to see how past waves like the Delta did, in comparison to what is happening with Omicron. This could mean something if they are small or excessive how the Omicron waves can be bad. “If I tried Delta by using the time that corresponds to here, how could I be wrong?” said Matthew Ferrari, dean of the Center for Infectious Disease Dynamics at Penn State University.

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