New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: India, along with other countries across the world is preparing to tackle the new COVID-19 variant identified in South Africa as 'Omicron', which has created panic and concerns everywhere. Earlier this year, a similar situation arose when the Delta variant was identified as more dangerous and mutable than the original form of the virus. Amid this, the World Health Organization (WHO) on Sunday (November 28) released its latest findings on Omicron.

Here's a look at how Omicron is different from the Delta variant of the COVID-19 infection.

1. Experts suggest that Omicron has a six times higher potential to spread than the Delta variant, as per a Times of India report. It may also evade the immune system and cause vaccine breakthrough infections. However, as per the WHO, it is not yet clear whether Omicron is more transmissible compared to Delta and other variants.

2. The Delta variant responds to monoclonal antibody therapy, considered a miracle COVID-19 treatment in the initial stages of the infection. However, Delta plus (Delta's offspring) did not respond to the treatment. Now, with the arrival of Omicron, it is suspected that it may be the second variant to not respond to the monoclonal antibody therapy, said the TOI report.

3. Coming to severity, WHO mentioned that it is not clear yet whether the Omicron strain causes more severe disease or not since there isn't any existing information to conclude so.

4. Omicron also has 26 unique spike mutations, against 10 for Delta and six for Beta. Many of them seem likely to render the variant more difficult for the immune system to recognize and thwart.

"At the present time, WHO is coordinating with a large number of researchers around the world to better understand Omicron. Studies currently underway or underway shortly include assessments of transmissibility, the severity of infection (including symptoms), the performance of vaccines and diagnostic tests, and effectiveness of treatments," concluded the WHO report.

"More information will emerge in the coming days and weeks. WHO’s TAG-VE will continue to monitor and evaluate the data as it becomes available and assess how mutations in Omicron alter the behavior of the virus," it added.

Posted By: Sugandha Jha