Is Omicron more Powerful than Delta ?

Newser World Team
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Omicron Spike Protein Illustration
Illustration of Omicron spike protein (red) with mutation site in yellow. (Juan Gaertner/Getty Images)



On November 24th, Africa reported a heavily mutated variant of SARS-CoV-2 (Virus that causes COVID-19).
Researchers have named this variant as Omicron (B.1.1.529). On 26th November, World Health Organization announced it as 'variant of Concern'.

Researchers found Omicron variant has 50 Mutations (While Delta Variant had only 9 mutations) of which 32 are spike protein based. Spike proteins are used by virus to gain entry in cell.
Spike protein is used by almost all vaccines for inducing protective antibodies. 

According to researchers As Omicron Variant has more number of mutations may have made it more Contiguous and better at bypassing immune protection. This prospect has been concerning governments and researchers.

Why do New Variant of SARS-CoV-2 Continue to emerge ?

With nine mutations of delta from original virus, Origin of another variant with 50 variants is not very unusual. It is based on theory of Natural Selection that a virus undergo some Mutations.
Only the speed of SARS-CoV-2 is quite high as the speed of mutation is high in RNA-based viruses. If a mutation provides virus a advantage of survival then a variant out-completes all other existing Virus Variants.

Higher Numbers of Mutation = More Dangerous ?

Do higher number of mutations makes Variant more dangerous and contagious? Answer to this question is we still don't know. Researchers are still unaware of situations that have led mutations in SARS-CoV-2. But unusuality of mutations of Omicron Variant have been a major concern.

According to some Scientists, Continued Infection in patients with good immune power may have led rapid evolution in virus. Like Alpha variant may have been evolved from continued infections of patients with quiet high immunity.
However, Major mutations and constellations of Omicron have made researchers to think how did it came.

Another theory suggests, Another reason Mutation may be infections with Animals like, Tiger, Lion or Monkey. As animals possess better immunity than humans, This condition made virus to undergo evolution.

There are only some studies goes on, therefore conclusion can't be derived whether this Variant emerged from animal host or not.

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How Delta Variant Dominated World?

Delta variant was nearly twice more transmissible than Alpha Variant - Original Variant found in China.
Researchers found the replication rate - Rate at which a Virus replicates itself -was quite high in Delta Variant. Some studies says Delta Variant made 1,000 times more replicates than Alpha. This was a major reason for its domination over Alpha Variant. 

People infected with Delta Variant used to shed more viruses while sneezing or coughing. This made Delta more Contiguous than Alpha.

According to Some Scientists, Mutations in Spike Protein allowed virus to have a better bonding with its host.

Delta variant was more efficient at evading antibodies which serve as a defence against virus. This is a reason why many vaccines have proved to be less efficient against new variants.

Delta variant had higher rate of hospitalized than early variant of SARS-CoV-2.
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