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Wednesday, January 26, 2022

Coronavirus. Omicron. Symptoms of the novel coronavirus variant. An expert on the course of the disease in people at risk

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Symptoms that have been observed in patients infected with the new variant of the coronavirus are severe fatigue, headaches and body aches, as well as scratching in the throat, says Dr. Karolina Krupa-Kotara from the Medical University of Silesia. He adds that it is still unknown what the course of the disease may be in people at risk who have been infected with omicron.

Omikron – a new variant of the coronavirus – is of concern to scientists around the world due to its high number of mutations and high infectious potential. It was detected on November 11 in southern Africa. In the following days, he was identified in various countries in Europe and the world. It has not been confirmed in Poland so far. The new variant was called the Greek letter omicron, like the previously known variants.

– From what we already know, the omicron variant in young people causes rather mild and nonspecific symptoms. So far, among the symptoms of patients infected with this variant has been noticed severe fatigue, headaches and body aches, as well as a scratchy throat – said on Monday Dr. Karolina Krupa-Kotara from the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics of the Faculty of Health Sciences in Bytom, Medical University of Silesia in Katowice.

– We still do not know what course of the disease can be expected in the elderly and comorbidities and obese patients with multiple diseases, who are a special risk group – she added.

She recalled that on December 1, scientists from the University of Hong Kong managed to isolate the entire genome, but it will be necessary to wait a few more weeks for the information it carries.

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Also read: WHO on coronavirus: the omicron variant moves very quickly, but there’s no need to panic

“By the time the immune system reacts, the virus has already done harm.”

After getting into our body, the virus is recognized by the immune system after some time. Another variant of the virus that appears to bypass our warning system changes its form to remain anonymous and not trigger the body’s defensive reaction. As Dr. Krupa-Kotara explains, by vaccinating, we create a warning system that, despite a change – a mutation – recognizes the S protein of the virus. Regardless of its change, it reacts and protects us against these variants.

– By replicating over a long period of time, the virus learns how our immune system works and successively creates variants that escape its pressure. We can only assume that such a situation could have contributed to the creation of the omicron variant – adds Dr. Krupa-Kotara.

The “goal” of the virus is to achieve the highest possible level of virulence, that is, the ability to penetrate, multiply and damage the tissues of the infected organism. – By introducing methods of prevention: social distance, mask, hygiene, vaccinations, we will cause some viruses to give up, others to “rehabilitate”, and still others to mutate and be more dangerous – explains Dr. Krupa-Kotara.

Vaccinated people gain a kind of “personal monitoring” of the virus, which does not mean that the virus will not want to infect them. The system protects against viruses, but does not eliminate them. The virus does not know if we are vaccinated, so I try to break in, developing – like an omicron – more “keys” or “lock picks”, i.e. the S protein located in more of the variant’s spikes. – Before the immune system reacts, the virus has already done the damage, this damage is the pain or runny nose felt by the vaccinated, re-infected, added Dr. Krupa-Kotara.

In addition, the virus, learning to bypass our protection system, may – before protection appears – infect other people who do not have a warning system in place – are not vaccinated.

Doctor: these primary prevention measures protect us against all, even the most dangerous, variants

– From the beginning of the pandemic outbreak, we were afraid of the emergence of the SARS-CoV-2 variant with high transmissivity and the ability to bypass post-vaccination or post-vaccination immunity. Such a threat has been suggested several times in the past, and perhaps this time the concerns are premature, but it is certain that if we allow the virus to spread freely, we increase the risk of developing such a variant, says Dr. Krupa-Kotara.

She emphasizes that each of the unvaccinated people should be vaccinated immediately, and those who have already been vaccinated should receive a booster dose of the vaccine whenever possible. – Let’s also use the principles of social distance, wearing masks and airing the rooms – these primary prevention activities protect us against all, even the most dangerous variants of SARS-CoV-2 and more – added Dr. Krupa-Kotara.

Main photo source: Shutterstock



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