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It's been a week in Europe, what are the other details about the new Omicron variant

It's been a week in Europe, what are the other details about the new

Delta time seems to have passed. The newest variant of Covid-19 that has also entered Europe is called Omicron.

What is Omicron?

The first sample of the new variant B.1.1.529 was taken on November 9, 2021. This variant has a large number of mutations, some of which are disturbing, not because of the risk of becoming more seriously ill, but because of higher transmissibility.

Why have scientists raised concerns about this variant?

The Omicron variant, also known as B.1.1.529, contains about 50 mutations, an extremely large number. More than 30 of them are in the spike protein, the part of the SARS-CoV-2 virus that interacts with human cells before entering the cell.

EU and US close flights to several countries

European Union countries, the United States, Brazil, Vietnam, Britain, Canada have blocked flights to several countries where the new variant came from, although the first cases have been identified in some EU member states.

The United States has decided to ban flights to South Africa, where the new mutation is thought to have originated, and to several other countries, including Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Lesotho, Esatin, Mozambique and Malawi.

WHO against blocking flights

WHO continues to oppose flight blocking, as at the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic. Following the decision of more than 50 states to cancel flights and isolate the country from South Africa and a number of other states.

"Complete restrictions will not prevent international spread and harm our lives," the WHO said in a statement.

The European countries that have confirmed the first cases with Omicron are Italy, Britain, the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany.

What do doctors say?

Dr Angelique Coetzee, the South African doctor who warned authorities about the new Omicron variant, said in a statement to the Telegraph that the symptoms were unusual but mild.

Dr Angelique Coetzee said she was initially alerted to the possibility of a new variant when patients at her private clinic began coming in earlier this month with symptoms of Covid-19 that did not make immediate sense.

Patients included young people of different backgrounds and ethnicities with intense fatigue and a 6-year-old child with very high blood pressure, she said. None of them had problems with taste and smell. Half of them were unvaccinated.

Does the vaccine still protect?

Based on the number and types of mutations seen in the Omicron variant, scientists suggest that immunity through vaccination or previous infection may not protect against re-infection by Omicron so effectively.

Laboratory studies are being conducted rapidly in South Africa to understand the impact on immunity.

Scientists are looking at neutralizing antibodies to this variant as well as interactions with T cells, to confirm if there is reduced immunity in standard laboratory tests, but these will take several weeks to complete.