OMICRON AND IHU

OMICRON AND IHU

Dr Suhaib Ashraf BhatOmicron (B.1.1.529) Variant: On November 24, 2021, South Africa reported the identification of a new SARS-CoV-2 variant, B.1.1.529, to the World Health Organization (WHO). B.1.1.529 was first detected in specimens collected on November 11, 2021 in Botswana and on November 14, 2021 in South Africa.IHU( B.1.640.2) variant: France detects new COVID-19 variant ‘IHU’, more infectious than Omicron. The new variant — B.1.640.2 — which has been detected in 12 patients near Marseille, contains 46 mutations, making it more resistant to vaccines and infectiousAs the world was struggling with delta variant one thing become crystal clear, More Covid-19 variants are likely to come. So what do we know about omicron and IHU?Omicron (B.1.1.529) Variant: The Omicron variant of COVID-19 has been called a variant of concern by WHO based on the evidence that it has several mutations that may have an impact on how it behaves. There is still substantial uncertainty regarding Omicron and a lot of research underway to evaluate its transmissibility, severity and reinfection risk. When a virus is circulating widely and causing numerous infections, the likelihood of the virus mutating increases. The more opportunities a virus has to spread, the more opportunities it has to undergo changes. New variants like Omicron are a reminder that the COVID-19 pandemic is far from over. It is therefore essential that people continue to follow existing advice on preventing the spread of the virus, including physical distancing, wearing masks, regular hand washing and keeping indoor areas well ventilated. The Omicron variant has now been detected in many countries around the world. WHO reports that Omicron is probably in most countries, even if it hasn’t been detected yet.Is the Omicron variant more severe than other COVID-19 variants? Early findings suggest that Omicron might be less severe than the Delta variant, but more data is needed and WHO warns that it should not be dismissed as “mild”. Studies are ongoing and this information will be updated as it becomes available. It is important to remember that all variants of COVID-19 can cause severe disease or death, including the Delta variant that is still dominant worldwide, which is why preventing the spread of the virus and reducing your risk of exposure to the virus is so important. Omicron is spreading more quickly than other variants. Based on the information available, WHO believes it is likely that Omicron will outpace the Delta variant where there is COVID-19 transmission in the community. However, being vaccinated and taking precautions such as avoiding crowded spaces, keeping your distance from others and wearing a mask are critical in helping to prevent the spread of COVID-19, and we know these actions have been effective against other variants.  Researchers are looking into any potential impact the Omicron variant has on the effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines. Information is still limited, but there may be a small reduction in the effectiveness of vaccines against severe illness and death, and a decline in preventing mild disease and infection. However, WHO reports that so far it

looks like the currently available vaccines offer significant protection against severe disease and death. It is also important to be vaccinated to protect against the other widely circulating variants, such as the Delta one. When it’s your turn, make sure to get vaccinated. If your vaccination involves two doses, it’s important to receive both in order to have the maximum protection.  WHO reports that early evidence suggests that previous infection could offer less protection against Omicron in comparison to other variants of concern, such as Delta. Information is still limited though. While people who recover from COVID-19 may develop some natural immunity to the virus, till now there is no data how long it lasts or how well you are protected. Vaccines offer more reliable protection.
Are children more likely to contract the Omicron variant? Research is ongoing into Omicron’s transmissibility and we will come to know soon. However, people who are mixing socially and those who are unvaccinated are more susceptible to contracting COVID-19. The most important thing you can do is reduce your risk of exposure to the virus. To protect yourself and your loved ones, make sure to:Wear a mask that covers your nose and mouth. Make sure that your hands are clean when you put on and remove your mask. Keep a physical distance of at least 1 metre from others. Avoid poorly ventilated or crowded spaces.Open windows to improve ventilation indoors.Wash your hands regularly.  

Several scientific projections have claimed that the peak of India’s ongoing surge will take place between January last week and February first week. As Dr Sudhakar said in other countries it has been observed that the wave, driven by Omicron, rose very quickly, followed by a quick dip. In South Africa, where the variant was first detected is also believed to be over the wave. Niti Aayog member (health) Dr VK Paul acknowledged the global scenario and said that it is a fact that surge driven by Omicron in other countries has come down quickly but that cannot be conjectured about India as the characteristics of a surge depends on many factors including vaccine coverage. “Like in the UK, Denmark, it is receding now. In South Africa too, it stayed for a month. But we can’t say anything clearly as it depends on our population density, vaccination coverage. So we can’t extrapolate that this wave will come down soon, but we can say what we are seeing.
IHU: IHU( B.1.640.2) variant: As the world grapples with the highly mutated Omicron variant France detects new COVID-19 variant ‘IHU’, more infectious than Omicron. The new variant — B.1.640.2 — which has been detected in 12 patients near Marseille, contains 46 mutations, making it more resistant to vaccines and infectious. Even as the world battles the uptick in COVID-19 cases owing to the Omicron variant, scientists in France have found another variant. The discovery of the variant, dubbed B.1.640.2, was announced in a paper posted on medRxiv. Called IHU, as of now, the strain was discovered by academics based at the IHU Mediterranee Infection on 10 December.Here’s what we know so far of this new COVID-19 variant:
• Researchers say that it contains 46 mutations — even more than Omicron — which makes it more resistant to vaccines and infectious.• Some 12 cases have been spotted so far near Marseille, with the first linked to travel to the African country Cameroon.• Tests show the strain carries the N501Y mutation — first seen on the Alpha variant — that experts believe can make it more transmissible• According to the scientists, it also carries the E484K mutation, which could mean that the IHU variant will be more resistant to vaccines.• It is yet to be spotted in other countries or labelled a variant under investigation by the World Health Organization.
Omicron dominant variant:Currently, Omicron is the dominant coronavirus variant in France, joining other European countries like the United Kingdom and Portugal with surging case numbers over the past few days. France’s public health agency had recently said that “62.4 percent of tests showed a profile compatible with the Omicron variant”. The Omicron variant of coronavirus has stoked average daily confirmed cases to more than 160,000 per day over the past week, with peaks above 200,000. “The tidal wave has indeed arrived, it’s enormous. In an attempt to battle this surge, French MPs have proposed legislation that would require most people to be vaccinated against Covid-19 to enter public spaces such as bars, restaurants and long-distance public transport. It is expected to come into force on 15 January after passing through the upper house Senate. However, The World Health Organization said that there is little reason to worry it. Abdi Mahmud, a COVID-19 incident manager with the WHO, said that the organization has monitored the new variant since November, but it has not spread far enough to raise concern.Conclusion: It is obvious to everyone that the financial crisis is shaking the entire world, East and West. It is a serious event that is giving the politicians, decision makers, prominent thinkers and economist’s sleepless nights. It is a huge calamity that is very complex and has many implications, which explains the great turmoil being experienced by economists and politicians, and it also explains why so much is being written about it, analysing it from different points of view. They are in a state of great confusion, and some of them have started to blame one another for what has happened. 
This crisis requires some explanation in order to highlight some important aspects that have to do with it.The crisis is real: It has led to the collapse of major banks and financial institutions; international stock markets have declined, trillions of dollars have evaporated, billions have disappeared from the financial markets, many countries in the world have hit rock bottom, millions have lost their wealth, be it in the form of shares, savings or investments; the investments of the American people in the stock markets have lost $4 trillion. This crisis has become like a tsunami, striking the economies of almost every country. Economy and money are the main foundation of Western society, and when they were content with that and forsook the laws of Allah swt, “Allah swt struck at the foundation of their building, and then the roof fell down upon them, from above them, and the torment overtook them from directions they did not perceive” [al-Nahl 16:26]. What we are seeing today of large scale destruction is about to utterly destroy them. The economic structure that they boast about and think will protect them has become the cause of their turmoil and decline. The calamity has come to them from above and from below. They thought that their financial system was perfect but from that system has come that which they never expected. “and the torment overtook them from directions they did not perceive”. Oppression, transgression, sin, disobedience to Allah swt and denying the rights of others are all causes of calamities befalling people at both individual and group levels, and even at the global level on occasion, as we are seeing in this crisis which involves calamities one after another. One should note that the destiny of falsehood is to weaken and diminish.  No matter how high it rises, there will come a day when it will inevitably be brought low. This is one of the laws of Allah swt that never changes. “It is Allah swt’s promise that nothing rises in this world but He will bring it down.May Allah swt make things easy for us.  Aameen               suhaibbhatt85@gmail.com

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