In November 2021 a new variant was reported in South Africa. This Lineage B.1.1.529 was given the name Omicron. This variant has a remarkable high number of mutations including uncommon mutation especially located in the Receptor Binding domain (RBD).
The reported mutations are the following : A67V, Δ69-70, T95I, G142D, Δ143-145, Δ211-212, ins214EPE, G339D, S371L, S373P, S375F, K417N, N440K, G446S, S477N, T478K, E484A, Q493R, G496S, Q498R, N501Y, Y505H, T547K, D614G, H655Y, N679K, P681H, N764K, D796Y, N856K, Q954H, N969K, L981F.
Mutations K417N and N501Y had previously been reported in Beta variant from South Africa. S477N was typically found in lineage B.1.526.2.
On site 493, both amino-acids lysine and arginine have been reported. Proteogenix offers both RBD variants (PX-COV-P074 for Q493K, PX-COV-P075 for Q493R).
Although this variant was first reported in South Africa in November 2021, by the end of December 2021 it had reached every continents, soon replacing the other variants in the majority of detected covid cases. For example, in the USA, three positive covid tests out of 4 reported the Omicron as the variant by the 21st of December. The WHO stated this variant as Variant of Concern (VOC) along with the beta, gamma and delta variants.
Studies are still going on to evaluate the virulence of this variant. Moreover, the first insights show a higher reinfection rate than for previous variants.
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