A team of Italian researchers from the prestigious Bambino Gesu hospital in Rome have successfully developed and published the first image of the new COVID 19 Omnicron variant. The 3D image of the variant looks like a map that depicts there are more than double mutations in the Omnicron variant than the Delta version. The team of researchers stated that it is seen how the Omnicron variant has many more mutations than the Delta variant. The mutations are concentrated in one area of the protein that will interact with human cells.
The first photo as you can see shows the structure of the spike protein of the new variant and on the left, the Delta variant which shows the original SARS CoV-2 spike.
The researchers stated that more variations don’t mean it is dangerous, it means that the virus is adapting to humans by generating new variants. Further studies on the new variant will tell if Omnicron is neutral, less dangerous or more dangerous.
Claudia Alteri who is a professor at Milan State University and a researcher at bambino Gesu said that the team aimed at searching for mutations in the 3D structure of the spike protein. She stated this to news agency AFP. She further added that now it will be fundamental to see whether the combination of these mutations can have an impact on rapid transmission of the virus and will it affect the efficacy of the vaccines? Further research and lab experiments will answer these questions, she said.
Scientists across the world are trying to fetch new information on Omnicron which is seen as the first COVID 19 variant with the maximum number of mutations, WHO identified this variant as a ‘variant of concern’ on Friday. To contain the outbreak of Omnicron, many countries have restricted the entry of international passengers coming from South Africa. Countries like Australia, Israel, the US, the UK have implemented restrictions.
Information about Omnicron is still very little known. Questions like how contagious it is, should the world worry about it, will it cause serious illnesses, and will the vaccine work on this variant? Are yet to be answered.
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