Omicron Variant: Similar or Different Than Other Sars-Cov-2 Variants? Along With Significance of Nanomaterial in Omicron Download PDF

Journal Name : SunText Review of Medical & Clinical Research

DOI : 10.51737/2766-4813.2022.064

Article Type : Research Article

Authors : Patwekar M

Keywords : Omicron variant; B.1.1.529; Spike mutation; COVID-19; Mucormycosis; Nanomaterial; SAR-CoV2

Abstract

WHO designated a new variant of COVID-19 on 26th of November, 2021 which is B.1.1.529 i.e. a variant of concern stated as “Omicron”, on the advice of whose “Technical Advisory Group on Virus Evolution” (TAG-VE). TAG-VE made a decision on the basis of several evidence which is presented to them about the impact on how several mutations of Omicron behaves. Most commonly, the severity of illness it causes or how easily it spreads. The variant of concern (VOC) i.e., Omicron (B.1.1.529) variant of SARS-CoV-2 was detected firstly in South Africa but now it has been spread extensively on both regionally and globally. There are chances for Omicron variant to become dominant in the upcoming days or weeks, most probably due to increased risk of transmission. The very noticeable feature of Omicron variant is large number of spike mutations that possess a relevant threat to the potency of currently used Antibody therapies and COVID-19 vaccines. The Omicron variant is considered to be more infectious as it is at least three times more infectious than the original SARS-CoV-2 and so than the delta variant. The Omicron variant has been so far reported in 160 countries including territories. After scientific study, the newly spread Omicron variant is considered to be highly transmissible, even among the vaccinated people. Mucormycosis infection occurs mostly in unvaccinated individuals and people with vaccination have lower risk of getting infection. The review includes the study of the role of the nanoparticle for the omicron, omicron vaccine development, production, detection. The research even includes different methods of preparation of the nanomaterial in relation to omicron.


Introduction

COVID-19 is the disease caused by SARS-COV-2 it was firstly detected in 2019 in Wuhan city (China). COVID-19 is a severe case and has caused millions of deaths all around the world and it can be transferred from person to person [1]. The people who are down with COVID-19 will experience mild to moderate symptoms and some will become seriously infected and they may require the special medical attention [2]. The novel Corona virus which are known to infect or affect the human beings first detected in 2019 and it has been around for quite a time in animals and this Virus from animal crosses into the Humans. Scientist claims that this Virus is not new to the world but it is new to the Human beings and hence, Scientist named this virus as “NOVEL CORONA VIRUS” [3]. Most common type of symptoms of COVID-19 includes – Fever, Cough, Anosmia (loss of smell), Ageusia (loss of sense of taste) [4].


Omicron Variant

The variant of concern stated as Omicron (B.1.1.529) is a variant of SARS-CoV-2 which was first detected in South Africa, but now it has been spread extensively on both regionally and globally.


Table 1: The comparison between different SARS-COV-2 Variants.

Covid-19  Variants

Country Of Origin

 

Spike Protein Mutations

Prevalence Of Analysed Sequences

Countries Or Territories Reported In

Lineage

ALPHA

United Kingdom (UK), SEPT 2020.  

B.1.1.7

11

<0.1%

197

BETA

South Africa, May 2020.

B.1.351

10

<0.1%

146

GAMMA

Brazil, November 2020.

P.1

12

0.10%

103

DELTA

India, October 2020.

B.1.617.2

10

99.80%

196

OMICRON

South Africa, November 2021.

B.1.1.529

32

Unknown

160


Data

Continents

Total Population

Confirmed Omicron cases

Asia

4.5 Billion

454513309

North America

583 Million

112791792

South America

424 Million

13040240

Africa

1.276 Billion

64396025

Europe

746 Million

371324005

Graphical representation of different COVID-19 variants.


There are chances for this new variant to become dominant in the upcoming days or weeks due to increased risk of transmission. The Omicron variant has 32 spike mutations out of which ten mutations are on the key protein’s i.e. (ACE-2 receptors) that helps the virus to spread the infection in humans. Although, the Beta variant has three mutations on the ACE-2 receptors and the Delta variant has two mutations [5]. This newly designated variant has been so far reported in 160 countries and territories like South Africa, Botswana, Austria, United Kingdom, United States, Israel, Hong Kong, New Zealand, Japan, China, India, Zimbabwe and many more, etc [6]. The fifth variant of concern i.e., Omicron emerges at a time when Vaccine immunity for previous variants is increasing in the world [7]. The Omicron variant can be transmissible among both vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals [8]. In USA, the Omicron case counts reached the higher records i.e., 4-5 times more than the previously detected variants of SARS-COV-2 [9]. The Omicron can be transmitted primarily via direct, indirect or closed contact with the fluid like respiratory secretion droplets, saliva of infected person when coughing, sneezing or talk. Although, other routes for the transmission are - faeco-oral route, mother-to-baby, and Animal-to-human beings’ transmission [10].


Global

The Omicron Infection has crossed over approximately 330 million worldwide and the global death due to Omicron reaches to 5.5 million according to “John Hopkins University” [11]. There are various questions arising concerning the Omicron variant, they are -

Is the Omicron variant more severe than the other SARS-COV-2 Variants?

Preliminary reports suggests that the risk of hospitalization for Omicron is less as compared to the other variants. However, increased transmission may be expected which may lead to hospitalization [12].

According to the Head of WHO (World Health Organization), the highly infectious variant of COVID-19 which is Omicron causes the less severe disease when compared to other variants and it will remain as “Dangerous virus” for the unvaccinated individuals.

Why has Omicron spread so rapidly?

The rapid expansion of Omicron is because of some of the mutations on the spike protein allow the virus to break out the existing immunity from vaccination or earlier infection. The studies on animals reported that Omicron is more preferable to multiply in the upper airways like Nose and Throat rather than lungs [13].

Do Monoclonal Antibodies work against Omicron?

Woefully, most of the Monoclonal Antibodies which are used for the treatment of COVID-19 infection are ineffective against this Omicron variant of Corona virus. The only Monoclonal Antibody available for effective treatment of Omicron is “SOTROVIMAB” known by the Brand name – “XEVUDY” [14].

How is Omicron different from the other variants?

The brief description of the different variants available with its country of origin, lineage, and prevalence is described in (Table 1), followed by (Figure 1) [15].

Figure 1:   Different SARS-COV-2 variants.



Signs and Symptoms

The majority of signs and symptoms associated with Omicron variant are Common cold including –Headache, Fatigue, Sore throat, Runny nose, Sneezing 4 and Extreme tiredness, Low Oxygen level Anosmia and Ageusia. 

Figure 2: Omicron case count in different continents.

The common symptoms usually are a sudden onset of fever, coughing, and dyspnea. The more complicated symptoms include acute respiratory disorders, pneumonia, kidney damage, bacterial infections, coagulation abnormalities and thromboembolic events, sepsis, and even death. So far, some of the clinical factors, such as old age people, patient with diabetes, as well as come prevailing with some cardiovascular diseases, have been associated with outcome and t high risk of mortality [16] (Figure 2).



Statistics

From (Figure 3), it is concluded that the Delta variant is considered as the highly infectious and transmissible variant of COVID-19 followed by Alpha and Omicron.