On November 26, 2021, the newest variant of SARS-CoV-2, was announced by the World Health Organization (WHO). This new variant was first detected in specimens collected few days ago in South Africa.
Within next 3 weeks, the Omicron variant has appeared in 77 countries around the world, including Southeast Asian Countries which are neighbors of Vietnam such as Thailand, Cambodia, Singapore…
The spread of this variant has authorities concerned that the virus could has higher transmissibility and can evade protection from vaccines and previous infection
After Delta, Omicron is the new variant of Covid-19 to be concerned
About transmissibility, Hong Kong research team recently has reported that in lung tissues, Omicron replicates 10 times more slowly than the original version of the coronavirus but Omicron multiplies itself 70 times more quickly in tissues that line airway passages (bronchial tissue) compared to the earlier Delta variant, which may facilitate person-to-person spread. By infecting many more people, a very infectious virus may cause more severe disease and death even though the virus itself may be less pathogenic.(1)
World map with the appearance of Omicron (16/12/2021)
About the ability of reducing Covid antibody protection, researchers from the University of Oxford have analysed the impact of the Omicron COVID-19 variant of concern on one of the immune responses generated by vaccination. Using blood samples from individuals who had previously received two doses of vaccines and a live virus isolate, they demonstrate substantial decrease in neutralising titres – a measure of the level of neutralising antibodies generated in responses to vaccination against, or infection from, COVID-19. This neutralisation assays used only data generated in one type of laboratory experiment, so we also need more real-world data. (2)
Studies are ongoing to confirm if the Omicron variant is more or less severe than other strains of COVID-19. While the Covid-19 pandemic is definitely still lingering, we need to proactively protect health of ourselves and our families to have the best defense daily.
Vaccines remain the best protection against COVID-19 and remain highly effective against severe illness and death. There is currently no evidence to suggest that the Omicron variant of COVID-19 results in increased levels of severe illness, or death, amongst those who have received two doses of a vaccine. If you or your family member has not been fully vaccinated, go to the health facility to get it as soon as possible. (2)
Vaccination is still the best protection
To prevent the spread of the COVID-19 epidemic, the Ministry of Health had issued Decision No. 1053/QD-BYT on February 6, 2021 about Guidelines for wearing masks to prevent and control the COVID-19 epidemic in public places. (3)
However, wearing masks is being neglected by people because they are subjective that they have been vaccinated. The epidemic is still complicated in many places, but many people ignore and do not wear masks or wear them incorrectly.
According to the results of an international study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, wearing a mask really plays an important role in reducing the death rate from COVID-19. In the 44 countries studied reported, the average COVID-19 mortality per million population was 48.40 in countries with face mask policies and 288.54 in countries without face mask policies, and this was significantly greater compared to countries with mask mandates. (4)
Therefore, you should remember that wearing a mask is still essential to minimize the rapid spread of the Omicron virus, and protect the health of yourself and those around you.
Always wear a mask when participating in public activities
It need more studies to confirmed how dangerous Omicron is. In order to effectively prevent the epidemic, besides other measures, the Ministry of Health also recommends that people can actively strengthen their immune system through exercise and nutrition. According to the National Institute of Nutrition, nutritional balance is the key to strengthening immune system. (5)
Therefore, you need to actively practice sports along with a balanced and nutritious diet to enhance immune system. Using food supplements that help strengthening immune system is also a solution chosen by many people today.
With the development of science in the production of food supplements, products that has natural origin are very good for health without side effects. You can choose products with precious herbs, such as Cordyceps.
Cordyceps has been used for its therapeutic values since long time. Abundant amounts of bioactive components are present in Cordyceps such as adenosin, cordycepin, proteins, fats, essential amino acids, minerals (Fe, Ca, Mg, Ni, Sr, Na, Ti, Pi, Se, Mn, Zn, Al, Si, K, Cr), vitamins (B1, B2, B12, E and K) (6) can help increase energy and vitality, boosting immune system.
These are things you can do to keep yourself and your family healthy. Don’t hesitate, take a look at what you still miss to do, do it now to proactively protect health better in this “new normal” life with Covid!
Pharmacist. Vu The Kieu Uyen
(3) Quyết định số 1053/QĐ-BYT ngày 06/02/2021 về việc ban hành Hướng dẫn đeo khẩu trang phòng, chống dịch COVID-19 tại nơi công cộng
(6) Syed Amir Ashraf et al. Cordycepin for Health and Wellbeing: A Potent Bioactive Metabolite of an Entomopathogenic Medicinal Fungus Cordyceps with Its Nutraceutical and Therapeutic Potential. Molecules. 2020 Jun; 25(12): 2735