KARE COVID-19 RESPONSE BULLETIN 55 – OMICRON EDITION
Kumaraguru Action for Relief and Empowerment (KARE), was founded in Nov, 2015 during the Chennai floods. KARE supports the victims of natural disasters such as floods, cyclone and other calamities and has supported during Kerala floods & Gaja Cyclone. This is a volunteer movement of Kumaraguru Institutions where many join hands when the need arises.
KARE COVID 19 Response Bulletin is an effort by a group of Kumaraguru alumni, students & informed citizens alike to clear the clutter around COVID 19 by providing informative, insightful news, articles & data around the world under various tags such as Research, Technology, Education, Economy & Insights with a short summary for each.
COVID19 Basic Info & Previous Bulletin Link: tinyurl.com/blog-KARE
India’s Omicron count rises to 145
According to Central and State officials, Omicron cases have been detected in 11 states and union territories including Maharashtra, Delhi, Rajasthan, and Karnataka. Telangana’s tally jumped from eight to twenty while Kerala reported four cases. While Omicron was first reported in South Africa on November 24th, India’s first two cases of Omicron were detected in Karnataka on December 2. |Economic Times
Two weeks into the Omicron outbreak: What is known, what remains unclear
Initial lab studies indicate that omicron is much more transmissible than the delta variant. However what remains unclear is if it would out-compete delta in places where that is dominant now. Cases in South Africa are rising rapidly and the rate of increase has outstripped South Africa’s three earlier waves. Initial hospital admissions in South Africa saw a higher number of children under the age of 5 than previously. Currently there are about 5000 people infected with COVID-19 in South African Hospitals. |NDTV
Omicron likely to outpace Delta: World Health Organisation
The World Health Organisation in its first technical brief on Omicron to member nations has said the variant of concern will likely outpace Delta, currently the dominant variant globally. It is spreading faster than the Delta variant. Whether Omicron’s observed rapid growth rate in countries with high levels of population immunity is related to immune evasion, intrinsic increased transmissibility, or a combination of both remains uncertain. On vaccine impact of the new variant, the world body said there was limited available data and no peer-reviewed evidence on vaccine efficacy for Omicron. |Tribune
Omicron no reason to rush booster decision: Experts
The clinical picture emerging worldwide is that Omicron is causing only mild disease. Even a third dose will not prevent acquisition of Omicron. These vaccines do not prevent infection, only reduce the severity. Even though there is high immunity post-Delta and vaccination, Omicron may still spread faster due to the changes in spike protein. The government’s primary focus at present remains faster delivery of second doses to reach a critical 80% coverage as that is paramount to prevent severe infection and deaths, even from Omicron, officials said. |Times of India
Korean researchers develop new technology that can detect Omicron in 20 minutes
As the Omicron variant spreads to more parts of the world, a team of researchers in South Korea developed a new technology that can detect the variant in about 20 to 30 minutes. The method is said to be more effective than a regular PCR test, which cannot detect ‘stealth Omicron’. While the existing methods only scanned specific areas of the virus, the new molecular diagnostic technology “was designed to cause nucleic acid-binding reactions only when the COVID-19 RNA exists, enabling rapid detection.” Disclosure of this technology will help us return to normal daily life as soon as possible. |Deccan Herald
Blessing in disguise
According to Virologist Marc van Ranst, it would be ‘very positive’ news if the Omicron variant is less pathogenic but has greater infectivity, thereby replacing the Delta variant. The World Health Organisation has also warned that the preliminary evidence suggests the variant has an increased risk of reinfection and may spread more rapidly than other strains including delta. Scientists suggest that it is extremely important to monitor the clinical data of Omicron patients in South Africa and worldwide. Medics across South Africa confirm that most Omicron infected patients merely have a severe headache, nausea and dizziness. |CITYAM
Omicron Test kit developed in Assam gives results in 2 hours
The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) Regional Medical Research Center (RMRC) at Assam’s Dibrugarh has come up with a testing kit that can detect the Omicron variant in just two hours. Thekit is a hydrolysis probe-based real time RT-PCR assay that is tested against specific synthetic gene fragments of Omicron variant of SARS-CoV-2. The kit has been tested with over 1000 samples of COVID-19 infected patients and the licensing process is underway. |NDTV
Global economy remains hostage to uncertainty due to Omicron: RBI bulletin
The Indian economy bounced back strongly in Q2 of FY22, with GDP surpassing pre-pandemic levels and inflation broadly aligning with the target, the central bank said in its December bulletin. The emergence of the Omicron strain had heightened the uncertainty in the global macroeconomic environment, accelerating risks to global trade with the resumption of travel restrictions and quarantine rules at major ports and airports. For the Indian economy, the recovery has been spearheaded by an uptick in private investment through November-December alongside a turnaround in bank credit offtake and high capex from the government sector. |Money Control
Omicron found to grow 70 times faster than Delta in Bronchial tissue
A study by a team from the University of Hong Kong, found that the Omicron variant grew 10 times slower in lung tissue which they said could be an indicator of the disease. A huge component of Omicron’s transmissibility is its potential to escape neutralizing antibodies that protect against infection in the first place. Initial data suggests that the Omicron variant had replicated about 70 times more than the Delta and the original variant. Although the bronchus is not the upper respiratory system, scientists said that this could lead to people shedding more virus and passing on infections more easily. |Guardian
The good and bad news about the Omicron variant
According to one of the largest real-world studies of Omicron released so far, the Omicron variant may lead to less severe cases of COVID-19. However, other data show that the variant is far more contagious than any other virus to date which could evade immune protection from vaccines and prior infection. Omicron poses a lower risk, at least for those who are vaccinated, but the threat to the overall population is high. Vaccine protection against omicron isn’t as high as its protection against earlier variants which may contribute to a higher rate of breakthrough infections. |VOX
Where can we get authentic information about Coronavirus?
Bulletin 55 Team
- Architha R
- Hind Chetwani Z
- Nakshatra Lakshmi M S
- Shabnam S
- Shivani S
- Shwetha S
- Vaishnavi Bose S
KARE COVID-19 Response So Far
43038 Cooked meals
2279 Volunteering hours clocked.
10 Tons of Vegetables transacted so far.
28+ Number of Farmers impacted so far.
640 Helpline Calls.
500 Grocery Kits & 500 kg Rice
50+ hours of student mentoring & 8 Gadgets
1400 Liquid sanitizer packs
₹ 4,95,141 Funds Raised.
₹ 6,50,000 Funds Spent.
63000+ Lives Impacted
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