Americans have now been put on alert, with the first case of the Omicron virus being detected in California. To gather more information on the variant, scientists and labs are putting their heads together.
With its first detection in South Africa its surrounding countries, and the current epicenter of the virus i.e. Europe, it has been a cause of concern. The testing speeds have been intensified across the country to identify more cases and contain the spread.
There is not enough data to support the properties and nature of the virus, whether the current vaccine has enough efficacy, to prevent any harm to the host, or an entirely new vaccine may have to be developed. WHO has although called it more concerning than the delta variant, there is ongoing research on the same.
The U.S.A earlier lacked in the capacity for genome sequencing, which allowed the matters to get worse, however now with additional funding of nearly $200 Billion, the private and public labs are sequencing 5% to 10% of the positive samples.
Rochelle Wallensky, the director of the Center for Disease Control (CDC) shared in a formal briefing at the white house that from earlier this year when they were sequencing 8,000 samples a week, they have increased their capacity 10 folds, by ramping it up to 80,000, which makes it the highest in the world.
Since the virus is evolving continuously it is going to be critical to monitor by sequencing the virus, which shall take into account the mutations, and the process of the mutations, and identify the virus’ genetic code. Once that is cracked it shall help the scientists to devise an apt solution.
It would be an unwanted emergency, if the virus comes out to be vaccine resistant, and mutates faster especially amongst the unvaccinated folk. It is also believed that variants such as omicron may potentially affect the natural trajectory of the virus and its fading out.
As the cases are on a constant surge in numerous countries, there is strict monitoring required. Countries such as Israel, Australia, South Africa, the UK, EU nations, India, have already seen their initial cases of the virus.
The first case which struck California, was in a fully vaccinated person, raising further alarms, although he had just mild symptoms, the tracing of the person was possible due to genome sequencing in San Francisco, which was confirmed at the CDC.