Preiser assumes that omicron is more portable than delta. Nor does he see any conclusive signs that it will lead to a milder course of the disease.
The precursors of the recently discovered viral variant omicron have likely been around for a very long time. This was stated to DPA by a co-discoverer of this variant, coming from Germany.
“According to current knowledge, the early form of omicron evolved as a particular viral species before the emergence of alpha and delta variants,” Wolfgang Preiser of Stellenbosch University in South Africa, a member of the research consortium that discovered the variant, told DPA.
This type of virus may have continued to evolve for months without attracting attention, Brisher said. “The question is: Why has Omicron been hidden for so long and is only (expanding) now? Did one or two mutations disappear to be able to spread quickly?”
The oldest known evidence of an omicron variant comes from the first half of November. The variant that was first discovered in South Africa and Botswana contains a very large number of mutations. Among other things, they affect the so-called spike protein through which the virus binds to human cells.
It is cause for concern
The European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) said this option could become mainstream in Europe within a few months, although questions about transmissibility, severity of infection or vaccine efficacy remain unclear. However, preliminary data indicates that it has a clear “advantage” over the delta option. The World Health Organization (WHO) has already listed Omicron as a “concern”.
Preiser assumes that omicron is more portable than delta. Nor does he see any conclusive signs that it will lead to a milder course of the disease. According to him, it is too early to draw such conclusions, and it is not clear whether children are more susceptible to infection.
Brisher said there are various theories about the origin of the omicron variable. It can develop in a patient with HIV or any other form of immunodeficiency, as in immunocompromised people, it can multiply for several months and gradually change without being completely eliminated by the immune system. “It is a speculative thesis and it has not been proven,” Breiser added, adding that another hypothesis is evolution in animals.
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