How Long Does Omicron Last?

How Long Does Omicron Last? Omicron is the dominant variant of COVID in the world right now. But how long does it last? Does it last longer than its predecessor – the Delta variant?

Ever since the pandemic began, several variants of SARS-CoV-2 the virus that leads to COVID-19 disease have surfaced. One variant that is currently the dominant strain in the world and dethroned other variants is Omicron. The landscape of this variant is changing yet again as new accounts of the BA.2.12.1 Omicron subvariant are being reported.

According to recent data by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, subvariant BA.2.12.1 currently dominates 64 per cent of the total coronavirus cases in the U.S and BA.2 accounts for 14 per cent of the cases. But how dangerous is Omicron? How long does it last? Here’s what you need to know.

 

How Long Does Omicron Infections Last In The Body?

While there are limited studies on the topic, few existing data suggest that Omicron infection may survive up to 10-14 days in the body. This period is similar to the period of its predecessor, the Delta variation, and slightly less than the two weeks of COVID-19’s original strain. It’s unclear whether this minor decline is related to variation traits or a higher immunization rate.

Some experts believe Omicron symptoms like shortness of breath, chest pain, and cough, which are signs of pneumonia or respiratory failure, tend to appear later, between days 5 and 10.

A Japanese study published in the National Institute of Infectious Diseases found that patients hospitalised with Omicron in Japan were found to be unlikely to shed the virus after 10 days of diagnosis or symptom onset. As per the study results, people were most infectious with Omicron 3-6 days after symptoms start. It’s crucial to note that they can be contagious before symptoms appear and that not everyone will experience symptoms.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, people who test positive for COVID-19 only need to isolate for five days if they have been fever-free for at least 24 hours (without the use of fever-reducing drugs) and can continue practising other COVID safety protocols.

Is Omicron Reinfection Possible?

A 2022 Danish study found that getting infected with two sub-variants of Omicron is not impossible, although the chances are slim. The researchers also speculated that because the patient is likely to gain immunity the first time, which means that the viral burden would be lower the second time. According to the researchers, the reinfections largely afflicted young, unvaccinated people and only caused minor illnesses, with no hospitalizations or fatalities. Researchers from Denmark’s main infectious disease authority, Statens Serum Institut, led the new study (SSI).

As per WHO, “Preliminary evidence suggests there may be an increased risk of infection with Omicron, as compared to other variants of concern, but the information is limited.” The health authority further added that the currently available vaccines remain crucial to reducing severe disease and death risk, including against the variants that are dominant.

Omicron Subvariants In India

Even the sudden surge in COVID cases in India is thought to be due to Omicron subvariants. The Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genomics Consortium (INSACOG), India’s Covid genome sequencing lab, analyzed genomic surveillance data and discovered that Omicron sub-lineages BA.2, BA.3.36, and in some sections of the country BA.4 and BA.5 have caused a spike in COVID-19 cases. However, no new variant has been discovered so far as per official reports.

As per reports, 60 per cent of the COVID cases are due to BA.2 subvariant. BA.2.38 accounts for around 33 per cent of the total cases of COVID-19 in the country. However, the percentage of BA.4 and BA.5 is comparatively less than the other variants.

Also Read: Diagnosing Alzheimer Disease: A Single Brain Scan Can Now Detect This Disease

 

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