A battle within a battle. The appearance on the scene of the fight against the coronavirus of the new Omicron variant is imperative a new raising of the guard, adapting the strategy to the “enemy” just revealed. The password, relaunched by a circular issued today by the Ministry of Health signed by the Director General of Prevention Gianni Rezza, is to enhance the tracing, in order to intercept any cases of people affected by the version of the virus that has spread from the southern areas of Africa.
Against the new Omicron variant, we read in the circular sent to the Regions, it is indeed necessary “strengthen and monitor tracking and sequencing activities for travelers from countries with diffusion of this variant and their contacts “or even” outbreaks characterized by a rapid and anomalous increase in cases “. The ministry also calls for the timely application of the” quarantine and isolation measures recommended in light of the circulation “of the other variants of Sars-Cov. 2 arrived in Italy.
Mutations and symptoms: here are what they are
The document signed by Rezza underlines that “the variant B.1.1.529 (this is the scientific name of Omicron, ed) presents a large number of mutations in the S gene rispetto al virus originale (A67V, D614G, D796Y, E484A, G142D, G339D, G446S, G496S, H69del, V70del, H655Y, ins214EPE, K417N, L212I, L981F, N211del, N440K, N501Y, N679K, N764K, N856K, N969K, P681H, Q493R, Q498R, Q954H, S371L, S373P, S375F, S477N, T95I, T478K, T547K, V143del, Y144del, Y145del, Y505H) e mostra un S-gene target failure (SGTF) in RT-PCR”.
This feature, the circular continues, “can be used as a proxy for quick identification if there is no simultaneous circulation of other variants with the same feature”.
On the symptom frontinstead, at the moment there does not appear to be any significant differences with the Delta variant, the latest to become prevalent on the pandemic scene. And they are signs that, compared to the previous variants, are more reminiscent of common diseases, namely sinus congestion, runny nose, sore throat and sneezing. Less present, however, is the loss of smell
The main concern
The fear, still to be confirmed, is “that the high number of mutations in the spike may lead to a significant change in the antigenic properties of the virus, but so far no virological characterizations have been performed and there is no evidence of changes in transmissibility, severity of infection, or potential evasion of the immune response. “
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