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Omicron's threat

New variant should shake up Indian vaccine complacency

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Coronavirus Tests | Coronavirus | Delta variant of coronavirus

Business Standard Editorial Comment  |  Mumbai 



Little is known for certain about the new variant of the Covid-19 virus, first detected in South Africa, and which the World Health Organization has dubbed the omicron variant. Yet whatever is known is not reassuring. The indications are that it is considerably more contagious than even the delta variant, which was first detected in Maharashtra almost a year ago and was partly responsible for India’s devastating second wave earlier this year. What is known is that it has over 50 mutations from the original Covid-19 virus, which was first recorded in Wuhan in late 2019, and that 30 or so of these are in the spike protein, the section of the virus that it uses to bind to human cells. Given that, there is reasonable concern that scientists are now investigating that it might be better able to evade natural immunity or that conferred by vaccines. Whether it will also cause more severe disease or higher mortality rates can only be discovered on the basis of real-world evidence.

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First Published: Mon, November 29 2021. 00:17 IST

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