Researchers at the Department of Microbiology at The University of Hong Kong have succeeded in isolating Covid’s new Omicron variant from clinical specimens. This will help in developing vaccines against Omicron, which is swiftly spreading in some countries. Studies are still trying to find out if the vaccines already available in the market can protect against the new variant.
Cases of the variant have been reported from Australia, Germany, Italy, Belgium, Britain, Israel, Netherlands and Hong Kong among other countries, and strict restrictions are being imposed again. So far, three cases of Omicron have been reported in Hong Kong, with the latest to be diagnosed being a 37-year-old man who returned to the country from Nigeria via Ethiopia and Thailand.
It is yet to be found out if Omicron leads to severe disease, but the World Health Organisation has called it ‘a variant of concern’. WHO has also reported that the chances of the variant spreading further globally is high.
As per several reports, symptoms of the new variant include a scratchy throat and extreme tiredness. A drip in oxygen levels or loss of smell or taste has not been reported in any patient infected with Omicron.