COVID-19: First Picture of the Omicron variant reveals significantly more mutations than Delta

Omicron variant coronavirus
First picture of Omicron variant

The Omicron variant of the coronavirus, a new variant of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, is more contagious than the Delta variant. The new Omicron variant is also recognized as having more mutations than the delta variant.

The mutation is shown by the appearance of three-dimensional images released by the Bambino Gesu Hospital in Rome.

The image produced and released by the hospital shows a three-dimensional view of the structure of the omicron variant coronavirus that looks like a map.

The research team said they could see more mutations in this variant than in the delta variant. These mutations are said to be concentrated over a protein area that interacts with human cells.

The delta variant itself has previously caused a further wave of pandemics in a number of countries. This variant is known to have the ability to spread faster than the previous variant of the coronavirus.

However, more mutations do not necessarily make the omicron variant more dangerous than the delta variant.

“This does not automatically mean that these variations are more dangerous, just that the virus has further adapted to the human species by generating another variant,” the researchers said in a statement quoting  AFP, Monday (29/11).

“Other studies will tell us if this adaptation is neutral, less dangerous or more dangerous,” the expert added.

Claudia Alteri, professor of clinical microbiology at Milan State University who is also a researcher at Bambino Gesu, explained that the research team is focusing on a wider search for mutations in the Spike protein which is considered the main weapon of the coronavirus when it attacks human cells.

Scientists also believe the Omicron spike protein is far more dangerous than the Delta variant. WHO also set the Omicron variant as a variant of concern

The three-dimensional appearance of the omicron variant was produced from a series of studies on this variant, mostly from Botswana, South Africa, and Hong Kong. This image is said to be produced and then made available to the scientific community.

“This image, which represents a map of all the variations, describes the mutations of Omicron but does not define its role. it will now be important to define through laboratory experiments whether the combination of these mutations can have an impact on transmission or on the effectiveness of vaccines, for example,” Alteri concluded.

When compared to the handful of significant changes seen in previous variations, the new form had more than 50 mutations, which Prof Bennett described as “strange”.

Because the spike area is where the virus binds to human cells and where vaccinations are targeted, mutations in this area are crucial.

Even if a person has been vaccinated or has had Covid before, our immune system may fail to recognise it or remember how to fight it if the variety is sufficiently different from previous forms of the virus.

According to the World Health Organization, at least ten mutations in this variation were associated with the receptor-binding domain on the protein spike.

This is a significant difference when compared to two for Delta and three for Beta.