Omicron spread: Scientists identify 1 symptom that confirms presence of variant

Leading British health expert Sir John Bell said that preliminary data suggests Omicron is behaving “rather differently” as compared to previous strains of coronavirus. In India, 87 cases of the new coronavirus strain have been recorded.
People line up for PCR and Rapid Antigen Covid-19 tests on Wall Street in the Financial District in New York on Thursday.(AP Photo)
People line up for PCR and Rapid Antigen Covid-19 tests on Wall Street in the Financial District in New York on Thursday.(AP Photo)
Updated on Dec 17, 2021 10:08 AM IST
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By | Written by Amit Chaturvedi, Hindustan Times, New Delhi

The Omicron variant of the coronavirus has been spreading across the world at a remarkable speed. The variant has been reported in 77 countries and has been spreading faster than any other strain, according to World Health Organization (WHO).

'Omicron may have higher reinfection risk but...': Watch WHO warning on Omicron

The scientists across the globe are putting their heads together to understand the behaviour of Omicron, which is considered to be highly resistant to existing vaccines. So far, the results have shown that this new strain causes less severe Covid-19 symptoms, compared to early variants of the virus.

But those infected with Omicron have one symptom in common: Scratchy throat.

Also Read | Why antibodies aren't the only defense against Omicron

The chief executive of South Africa-based Discovery Health recently said at a briefing that doctors have noted a slightly different set of symptoms among those testing positive.

The most common early sign was a scratchy throat, said CEO Dr Ryan Noach, followed by nasal congestion, a dry cough and myalgia manifesting in lower back pain.

Most of these symptoms are mild, said Dr Noach, but stressed that this does not mean that Omicron is less virulent.

Also Read | Biden predicts winter of severe illness and death for unvaccinated

A leading British health expert also concurred with Dr Noach and said that preliminary data suggests Omicron is behaving “rather differently” as compared to previous strains of coronavirus.

“The symptoms people get from this particular virus are different to the previous variants,” Sir John Bell told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme on Tuesday, adding that stuffy nose, sore throat, myalgia and loose stools are the symptoms to look out for.

In India, the countrywide tally of Omicron cases reached 87 on Thursday as three states – Karnataka, Telangana and Gujarat – and national capital Delhi reported fresh cases.

Karnataka reported five new cases of the heavily mutated variant, while Delhi and Telangana registered four such new infections, and Gujarat saw a single case.

So far, 11 states and union territories have reported Omicron infections - Maharashtra has seen 32 such cases, Rajasthan has reported 17, Delhi has 10, Karnataka has seen eight infections, Gujarat and Kerala both have reported five, Telangana six, and one case each has been reported in West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh, Chandigarh and Tamil Nadu.

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