new form of Omicron

Queensland discovers a new form of Omicron. 

A new genetic lineage has been identified in a person who came via South Africa and tested positive for coronavirus on a Saturday.

The Australian state of Queensland has discovered the first Omicron connection in a person who came to South Africa, health authorities announced on Wednesday.

The new lineage comprises approximately half the gene variants of the first and cannot be detected using the standard screening methods, the state’s acting Chief Health Officer Peter Aitken told reporters.

The official said that the virus was discovered in a tourist who returned via South Africa and tested positive for coronavirus last Saturday.

The new lineage contains sufficient indicators “to be able to classify it as Omicron, but we don’t know enough about it as to what that means then as far as clinical severity, vaccine effectiveness,” Aitken said. “We now have Omicron and Omicron-like.”

The announcement occurred in the same week that the World Health Organization said on Wednesday that the Omicron variant had been identified in 57 countries. As a result, the amount of people requiring hospitalization is expected to increase as the disease spreads.

“Even if the severity is equal or potentially even lower than for Delta variant, it is expected that hospitalizations will increase if more people become infected and that there will be a time lag between an increase in the incidence of cases and an increase in the incidence of deaths,” the WHO in its weekly report on epidemiology declared.

However, WHO and US scientists have both told AFP that Omicron isn’t any better than other coronavirus types.

Although it’s more susceptible to transmission than prior versions, “the preliminary data don’t indicate that this is more severe,” the WHO’s second in command told AFP.

“If anything, the direction is towards less severity,” WHO emergency Director Michael Ryan said in an interview on Tuesday. However, he insisted that research is needed.

The top US researcher Anthony Fauci echoed the WHO’s opinion.
Fauci told AFP that the latest variant could be described as “clearly highly transmissible,” probably more so than Delta, which is the dominant worldwide type.

“It almost certainly is not more severe than Delta,” Fauci said. “There is some suggestion that it might even be less severe.”