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Covid data (India), August 03, 2022: Vaccination Today: 37,10,328; Vaccination Day Before: 23,49,651; Total Vaccination Doses: 2,04,84,30,732; Samples Tested on Aug 02: 4,64,919; Total Samples Tested: 87,63,57,530; Total Cases: 4,40,67,144 (New 17,135); Total Deaths: 5,26,477 (New 47); New Deaths, States: Delhi 5; Maharashtra 5; Rajasthan 5 - India Travel Times.Com   [Estd: 1998]       * * *    Travel, More Travel, Travel Means A Million Things     * * *    
Not much is known of Omicron, but don't drop our guard: Dr Fauci

Dr Anthony Fauci, top US infectious diseases doctor, has said so far it is not known whether the Omicron variant causes more severe disease. However, it appears to be more transmissible than other variants. He called upon the vacillating folks to take the jab without delay.

NEW DELHI, Nov 29: The detection of the new covid variant Omicron in South Africa and its rapid transmission to far away countries have scared the world. However, nobody seems to listen to health experts' warning against any misplaced alarm. International air traffic, already crippled by the pandemic for nearly two years is sudddenly coming to a halt.

South African scientists are asking for just 14 days to determine how effective are the available vaccines against Omicron.

Dr Anthony Fauci, top US infectious diseases doctor and the President's chief medical adviser, said on Sunday, "I don’t think there’s any possibility that this (Omicron) could completely evade any protection by vaccine. It may diminish it a bit, but that’s the reason why you boost." He emphasised on the urgent need for the unvaccinated to take the jab and those who have already been vaccinated to take the booster dose.

He said so far it is not known whether the Omicron variant causes more severe disease.

Omicron variant appears to be more transmissible than other variants. It might evade some of the protection of monoclonal antibodies and even antibodies that are induced by vaccine, he said.

There is concern over the variant's mutations (50 plus), more than any earlier variant. "The mutation would strongly suggest that it would be more transmissible and that it might evade ... perhaps even antibodies that are induced by vaccine."

Americans should be prepared to do anything and everything to fight the spread of the new variant, he said.

He also said there is no indication that new covid variant is present in the United States. But he did not rule out. "There are concerns over more transmissibility and the possibility of the evasion of the immune response. But we do not know for sure right now."

ALARMING TRANSMISSION: Omicron has rapidly found its way to more countries. It has been detected in Germany, Belgium, Czech, UK, Australia, Israel, Hong Kong, Ittaly, Botswana and the Netherlands, apart from South Africa.

CONSOLATION: The structural changes detected in the virus may not necessarily give rise to a functional change. It may not necessarily be lethal or result in severe form of disease. There is no such data, ICMR scientist Samiran Panda told the TOI. The structural changes or mutations found in SARS-COV2 through genome sequencing in the lab are indicative but do not necessarily mean the new variant is highly transmissible. But vigilance is needed, he added.

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