The world has not remained the same since 2020. When the pandemic struck us, we were not ready for it at all. Still, the whole world stood fast in front of it and together we combated the menace. Then there came the news that the virus is mutating itself and there are multiple variants of it. The most notorious of them all is the Delta variant. Somehow at the same time, the vaccine for coronavirus was invented. Today if we say that almost 50% of the world’s population is vaccinated then it won’t be wrong and if we talk about the best hospitals in Pakistan they have played a significant role to save this country from pandemics.
We all were hoping that this relentless virus would be over soon. But then there was news from South Africa. That a new variant of this virus is found in one of the victims.
What is this new variant called? Is it more dangerous?
This new variant B.1.1.529 SARS CoV-2 is also called “Omicron”. The blood sample in which this was found was taken from an afflicted person on 9th November 2021. It took a few days to test and identify that it is a new variant. On 26th November 2021 W.H.O addressed this new variant as the “variant of concern”. And predicted that this new variant can be more dangerous. W.H.O did not define how dangerous this new variant could be with authenticity. As everyone, be it scientists, doctors, or people with power and authority. They all are uncertain about it and not sure how they should react in such a situation.
The reaction of the world towards “Omicron”
Though the South African scientists showed uncertainty about the spread and severity of the virus. The whole world actively responded to it and banned all transportation from South Africa. These countries include the US, UK, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, and a few others. These countries made policies that people could only travel from or to Africa if they had an exclusive invitation. On this action of the world, the president of South Africa, Cyril Ramaphosa reacted. And said that such boycotts of multiple countries with South Africa may impact its economy. It can also drag the country into more adverse circumstances.
The South African scientists say that the variant is already present in other parts of the world
The South African scientists said that the variant is already present in 31 different countries of the world. Which include Australia, Belgium, England, Denmark, Hong Kong, Israel, Italy, France, Canada, Netherlands, and a few other countries.
Anthony Fauci is the chief medical advisor to the President of the United States. Said that currently, it is too early to say anything about the gravity of the situation. He said that still two weeks’ time is needed to study and understand the transmissibility. Severity along with other characteristics of this Omicron variant. Yet, at the same time, while addressing the media, Fauci said. It is very early to react to it, still, America had to be ready for any kind of unpleasant situation. The US as mentioned earlier has stopped all sorts of transportation and connectivity with Africa.
The reaction of the South African president and W.H.O
The President of South Africa spoke about the discriminatory behavior of the world. Asked to lift the ban on transportation and connectivity. W.H.O also suggested that rather than putting restrictions, we should think about finding practical and scientific solutions to stop the spread of the Omicron variant. This variant is one of the multiple variants of coronavirus. It is given the name of Omicron after the Greek alphabet. Omicron is the fifteenth alphabet in the Greek language.
How they give names to the viruses
Well, viruses when discovered are given certain names on the basis of their genetic structure. This practice greatly helps doctors, scientists, and researchers in further development and understanding of the virus. So that suitable testing procedures and medication can be made in order to combat the relentless creatures. There is an international committee ICTV “International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses”. Which gives viruses their names after doing a study and research on them.
Referring to coronavirus, which is somehow similar to SARS. The name SARS-CoV-2 was given to the virus on 11th February 2020 by the ICTV. This was done due to the virus’s great similarities with the SARS virus. Which was responsible for the outbreak of the SARS epidemic back in 2003. W.H.O announced the name of the virus on the same day as COVID-19. While following the guidelines formerly developed in collaboration with the World Organization of Animal Health (OIE).
How the variants of a virus are formed
Well, the variants of viruses are the result of mutation. As we all know that viruses have DNAs or RNAs which are formed of genetic coding or combination. If a slight change in the combination of RNAs or DNAs of the virus. While multiplying, occurs, a variant or a new virus comes into existence. This slight change can cause characteristic differences in the diseases caused by these variants. Hence more the number of variants the more drastic the situation gets. The doctors and scientists have to study this new creature and then find its treatment.
What is the origin of the Delta Variant?
By now, coronavirus has mutated several times and formed a number of variants. The most common of all the variants is the “Delta” variant. The origin of the Delta variant was India. India saw a major health crisis after an enormous gathering at the festival of Kumbh. This is a religious festival and is very close to the hearts of Hindus. They celebrate it each year. In this festival, a number of million people gather at the shore of the River Ganges. For performing the rituals by dipping their bodies in the water of the river.
Coronavirus doesn’t transmit through water. But such a huge gathering became the hub of the spread of COVID-19 and then the Delta variant appeared. This alarmed the whole world specially its neighboring countries like Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh, and China.
All the best hospitals in Pakistan were on high alert. To fight the virus in case it reaches the land. Pakistan very strictly followed the SOPs during the pandemic. This is why the country did not witness as many casualties as the rest of the world. All the best hospitals in Pakistan were converted into COVID-19 special departments which were operating round the clock and the best doctors were available there to immediately provide medical assistance to the afflicted people.
How variants of the viruses get their names
The “Delta” variant got its name Delta also after the Greek alphabet. This is the fourth alphabet in the Greek Language. By far there are seven “variants of concern” by W.H.O. The organization named these variants after the names of Greek alphabets. It just misses the alphabets “Nu” and “Xi” because of the reasons that “Nu” may sound new and people may interpret it wrong.
Whereas “Xi”, if you are thinking this name does not associate with the virus. Just because it is the name of Chinese President Xi Jinping then you are wrong. “Xi” is the most common surname, and W.H.O doesn’t give names to viruses that may hurt the feelings of any community, religion, or anything else. Hence, both letters suffer elimination and the virus gets the name “Omicron”. Before that, alpha, beta, gamma, delta, epsilon, zeta, eta, theta, iota, kappa, lambda, and mu. Already are the names of the variants of viruses.
The vaccination may save lives
Though there is uncertainty about the new variants of viruses, still, the vaccine can somehow provide protection against them. A large population of the world has its vaccination already. If you are one of them who did not take the jab, then you should do it right away. As it is better to take precautions than medication. We all should act responsibly and take care of ourselves and everyone around us.