The Financial Express

88pc recent Covid infections are of the omicron variant

| Updated: February 10, 2022 19:37:15

88pc recent Covid infections are of the omicron variant

Research has found that 88 per cent of current Covid-19 cases in Bangladesh are of the omicron variant, says Dr Md Sharfuddin Ahmed, vice chancellor of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Medical University (BSMMU).

The results were found in the genome sequencing of 937 Covid-19 samples from patients taken in the past month, he said on Thursday.

“The omicron variant was found in 20 per cent of the samples collected between Dec 08, 2021 and Jan 08, 2022,” Sharfuddin Ahmed said.

“At the time we only detected one case of the BA.1 subvariant and 80 per cent of cases were of the delta variant. We had expressed our concern that the omicron variant would multiply in the coming month.”

“Between Jan 09, 2022 and Feb 09, 2022, we detected the omicron variant in 82 per cent of admitted patients and outpatients and the delta variant in the remaining 18 per cent. The omicron subvariants BA.1, BA.11 and BA.2 were detected.

“The omicron variant is much more contagious than the delta variant,” the vice chancellor said. “There were more mutations found in the omicron variant than the delta variant, most of which were in the spike proteins. Most of the vaccines target the spike protein. As the composition of the spike protein has changed, even those who have received the vaccine have a chance to get infected.”

Sharfuddin also highlighted several other factors of the pandemic situation, including that the omicron variant was now the dominant strain of the virus in Bangladesh, though it had been the delta variant only a small time ago, reports bdnews24.com.

Even people who had received two doses of the Covid-19 vaccine were now catching this variant, he said. The vaccine does, however, reduce the severity of the disease. Patients have been found who have contracted the coronavirus thrice because of the omicron variant, Sharfuddin added.

Of the patients hospitalised, 65 per cent had contracted the omicron variant, while 35 per cent had the delta variant. Due to milder symptoms, omicron patients were generally recovering faster. The common symptoms for the omicron variant were headaches and clogged noses. Those who contracted the omicron variant were also less likely to be hospitalised.

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