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COVID

Omicron Symptoms, New Variants and More: 5 Important Facts!

Omicron symptoms are different from the previous COVID-19 variants

Timely vaccination is one of the most effective omicron precautions

It is important to book online consultation if you notice omicron symptoms

B
Bajaj Finserv Health
May 4th, 2022
9 mins read

The pandemic is still on, and with the rise of multiple omicron variants, WHO is closely monitoring omicron symptoms as well those of other variants. As the variants are continuously undergoing mutations, it becomes difficult for people to adjust and protect themselves from experiencing new omicron variant symptoms.

In order to do so, you need to have comprehensive information on the different variants of omicron, symptoms that are commonly noticed, precautionary measures you can take, and vaccination. Read on to learn 5 important facts about omicron symptoms, new variants, and more.

What are the most common omicron variant symptoms? 

Though infections from almost all variants result in the usual corona symptoms, they have slight differences that help distinguish them. One of the major differences between omicron symptoms and corona symptoms of previous variants is that the first usually affects the upper respiratory tract and is less likely to infect your lungs. Omicron symptoms are also milder than the signs of previous variants.

omicron

Some common omicron variant symptoms are: 

  • Fatigue 
  • Dizziness 
  • Sore throat 
  • Headaches 
  • Sore muscles 
  • Fever

Why is Omicron a Variant of Concern (VoC)? 

According to WHO, a variant becomes a VoC when it shows the following characteristics [1]: 

  • Spreads rapidly 
  • Causes severe illness 
  • Evades body’s immune system 
  • Undergoes major mutations 
  • Reduces the effectiveness of precautionary measures

The omicron virus spreads rapidly and evades the body’s immune response. It also has a large number of mutations and increases the risk of reinfection. Above all, omicron symptoms tend to be severe for the unvaccinated people but mild for the vaccinated ones. Due to these characteristics, WHO termed omicron as a VoC.

Additional Read: How does Coronavirus Spread

types of COVID 19 vaccines in India

How many new variants of omicron virus are there? 

Apart from the Omicron Sub-Variant BA.2 and BA.1, there are multiple sub variants that have recently emerged in some countries across the globe. The three newly emerged omicron variants are as follows:

Omicron BA.3 

This is another lineage of the omicron virus, but it does not have the same protein spike that other two lineages, Omicron Sub-Variant BA.2 and BA.1, have. All three of these lineages were discovered around the same time but have not spread at the same pace. Out of these, Omicron BA.3 has fewer mutations as compared to the BA.1 lineage.

Omicron BA.4 and BA.5 

Offshoot of the sub-variant BA.2, BA.4 and BA.5 share the most of their mutations with BA.2. Despite this, these variants also have distinct mutation from BA.2 as well as each other. Experts at WHO are concerned about these sub-variants because they can evade the human immune system despite vaccination [2].

omicron virus

XE variant  

This is a recombinant of the BA.1 and BA.2 lineage of omicron virus. Recombination is a completely different process than mutation. In a recombination, two different variants infect the same cell at the same time, which causes a mix of genes from both variants. This mix is called XE variant. Despite this variant being a cause for multiple cases, it is not yet termed as a VoC. Rather, XE variant remains a variant of interest because of its low severity, which ensures less cases of hospital admission despite its high transmissibility.

Are vaccines effective against omicron variants? 

Though COVID-19 vaccines were developed when previous variants were dominant, they are still effective in protecting you against new variants. According to study, people who had at least three doses of mRNA vaccines were less likely to experience adverse effects of omicron symptoms [3]. These include the need for urgent care and hospitalization. So, though these vaccines may not prevent infection completely, they can help you avoid suffering from the adverse effects of omicron symptoms related to old and new variants.

Is there a possibility of a universal vaccine? 

Though research is ongoing, it is too soon to know whether developing a universal vaccine for all variants of COVID-19 is possible. Since there isn’t a universal vaccine and the pandemic is far from over, you still need to take all the necessary precautions. Failure to do so can cause a spike in cases and also lead to emergence of new variants. This would, in turn, change the course of risk mitigation measures that governments across the globe are enforcing.

Additional Read: Pediatric COVID Vaccine Dose

Regardless of the variants, the best way to avoid omicron infection and omicron symptoms is to take the necessary precautions. Common omicron precautions include wearing masks, maintaining social distance, isolating yourself when you or someone close to you has omicron symptoms, washing hands frequently, and using sanitizer when necessary.

However, you may still get infected despite all the precautions. In such cases, it is important to start omicron treatment at the earliest. If you notice any omicron symptoms or symptoms of other variants, talk to a doctor immediately. Book online consultation on Bajaj Finserv Health to get started with treatment without delay. You can also book COVID-19 tests on the platform and get your sample collected from home. You will get an online report within 24-48 hours with analysis from top doctors. This way, you can take the best care of your health without any stress.

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