Italian scientists present an image showing the mutations in Omicron, a new variant of coronavirus. The variant is believed to be from Southern Africa and has caused alarm in many countries around the world.
The illustration of the new strain, unveiled by Italy’s Bambino Gesu hospital on Saturday, presents the Omicron in comparison with the Delta variant, one of the most contagious strains of Covid-19.
Omicron’s variant has more mutations than Delta. It is particularly notable in those areas which interact directly with human cells. In the unveiled image, the scientists highlight the hotspots for mutations.
“This is a ‘photo’ in a very broad sense, it’s a model made in a laboratory,”According to RIA Novosti, a representative of hospital stated the following:
Scientists noted that these changes could indicate that Omicron may have become more well-adapted for humans. Still, it’s too early to say whether these mutations combined actually make Omicron more dangerous compared to the previous iterations of Covid-19.
The new strain, officially designated a “variant of concern” by the World Health Organization on Friday, was first detected in Botswana earlier this month. According to some reports, the strain may have been already dominant in South African regions and is threatening other Covid-19 varieties.
This new variant has already been spreading beyond Africa. Hong Kong, Israel and Belgium confirmed first cases and others are investigating possible infections. New restrictions have been imposed by all 27 EU members, which has resulted in the suspension of air travel from seven countries south-African. The block’s other members, the US, UK and Canada, have imposed similar restrictions, but Israel has enacted the most severe restriction in the history of Israel, banning foreigners from entering.