Why Omicron infection possibly looks like common cold, researchers explain

Omicron looks ‘more human’ causing mild diseases as it might have picked up the genetic sequence from the other virus in an immuno-compromised host body. 
A person takes the Covid-19 test in Times Square on Friday.(AP)
A person takes the Covid-19 test in Times Square on Friday.(AP)
Published on Dec 04, 2021 06:24 AM IST
Copy Link
By | Written by Poulomi Ghosh

The symptoms of the Omicron variant are apparently milder than the earlier variants as the variant is making itself look "more human". This is a result of the mutation, during which it has picked up a snippet of genetic material from another virus, probably a common cold virus, according to researchers. In a study led by Venky Soundararajan of Cambridge, it has been revealed that this mutation might have happened in a cell that can host both SARS-CoV-2 and common cold viruses.

What does this finding mean? As Reuters reported, this could mean the virus transmits more easily, while only causing mild or asymptomatic disease. Questions like whether Omicron is more infectious than other variants, whether it causes more severe disease or whether it will overtake Delta as the most prevalent variant are et to be answered as the scientific probe is going on.

The new characteristic of Omicron indicates that it might be a result of viral recombination, which is a process in which two different viruses in the same host cell interact while making copies of themselves, generating new copies that have some genetic material from both "parents".

According to this study, Omicron could have occurred in a person infected with both pathogens where a version of SARS-CoV-2 picked up the genetic sequence from the other virus and that's why Omicron's genetic sequence does not match with the earlier versions. Neither do the symptoms match with Covid caused by the earlier variants of the virus.

The same genetic sequence appears many times in one of the coronaviruses that cause colds in people - known as HCoV-229E - and in the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) that causes AIDS, Soundararajan said.

South African scientists have earlier hinted that Omicron was probably incubated in the body of a person whose immune system was affected by HIV or by any other immuno-compromising condition.

SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
Close Story
QUICKREADS

Less time to read?

Try Quickreads

  • In this photo taken from video released by the Russian defence ministry on May 20, 2022, Russian servicemen frisk Ukrainian servicemen after they leaved the besieged Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol. 

    Russia's claim of Mariupol's capture fuels concern for prisoners of war

    Concern mounted Saturday over Ukrainian fighters who became prisoners at the end of Russia's brutal three-month siege of Mariupol, as a Moscow-backed separatist leader vowed they would face tribunals. Its seizure delivers Russian President Vladimir Putin a badly wanted victory in the war he began in February. The Russian Defense Ministry released video of Ukrainian soldiers being detained after announcing that its forces had removed the last holdouts from the plant's extensive underground tunnels.

  • Former Pakistan's prime minister Imran Khan gestures during a press conference in Islamabad.

    Imran Khan praises India's foreign policy after fuel price cuts: ‘This is what…’

    Former Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan heaped praise on India for buying discounted oil from Russia despite “pressure from the US”, saying his government was also working to achieve the same with the help of an independent foreign policy. He lashed out at the Pakistan Muslim League (N)-led government for “running around like a headless chicken with the economy in a tailspin.”

  • Monkeypox: World Health Organisation has expanded its definition of ‘non-endemic countries’. 

    92 monkeypox cases in 10 days from 12 countries, spread may grow -WHO: 10 points

    More monkeypox cases are likely, the WHO has said in its latest health bulletin, amid growing concerns over the global spread of the virus as the world is already in the midst of the fight against coronavirus. Health experts, however, have repeatedly said there's no need to panic.

  • U.S. President Joe Biden, right, attends a state dinner hosted by South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol, left, at the National Museum of Korea.

    Biden, Yoon signal expanded military drills due to North Korea 'threat'

    US President Joe Biden and South Korea's new President Yoon Suk-yeol signalled Saturday an expanded military presence in response to the "threat" from North Korea, while also offering to help the isolated regime face a Covid-19 outbreak. Biden and Yoon also extended an offer of help to Pyongyang, which has recently announced it is in the midst of a Covid-19 outbreak, a rare admission of internal troubles.

  • FILE PHOTO: A serviceman of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DNR) walks at the damaged war memorial complex Savur-Mohyla during a ceremony marking the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the Donbas region from the Nazi occupation during World War Two, outside the rebel-held city of Donetsk, Ukraine September 7, 2018. REUTERS/Alexander Ermochenko/File Photo

    Russia intensifies push for Donbas, halts gas to Finland

    Russia intensified an offensive in the Donbas region of eastern Ukraine on Saturday and stopped providing gas to Finland, escalating Moscow's dispute with the West over energy payments. After ending weeks of resistance by the last Ukrainian fighters in the strategic southeastern city of Mariupol, Russia is waging what appears to be a major offensive in Luhansk, one of two provinces in Donbas.

SHARE
Story Saved
×
Saved Articles
Following
My Reads
Sign out
New Delhi 0C
Sunday, May 22, 2022