Covid 19 Omicron variant: What are the symptoms, how can you tell if you have it and what symptoms can it produce?

It’s the newest variant of the Coronavirus, but what do we know about Omicron so far?

Omicron is the newest variant of the Coronavirus. (Photo by Pierre Crom/Getty Images)
Omicron is the newest variant of the Coronavirus. (Photo by Pierre Crom/Getty Images)
Omicron is the newest variant of the Coronavirus. (Photo by Pierre Crom/Getty Images)

The end of November saw a new chapter in the worldwide fight against Covid 19 thanks to the discovery of a new variant in South Africa, and while there is still much to learn about the new strain of the Coronavirus, there is also plenty scientists are now aware of.

When was the Omicron variant first found?

The new varient was first found in South Africa on 28 November, although scientists now believe it was in Western Europe before the discovery in the southern hemisphere.

As of Wednesday 1 December, the World Health Organisation have announced the new varient has been found in 23 countries, including the UK, where the first case was found on 27 November.

How well will Covid vaccines work against Omicron?

Scientists across the world are working to find out how effective the current Covid vaccines are against the new variant, with mixed reports coming back from experiments so far.

Although Deputy Chief Medical Officer for England Jonathan Van-Tam has said that the “number of mutations present, already on first principle, makes us worry about a possible effect on vaccine effectiveness,” those working to study the effectiveness of the vaccines are saying results will not be able to show a trend either way for a couple of weeks yet.

How can I tell if I have the Omicron Variant?

Of the two types of test available in the UK, one is able to detect the variant of covid a positive case has in their body.

PCR tests, which are sent to labs to decide on a result can identify variants. The BBC report that between a third and a half of labs across the UK have the technology to identify which varient a positive case is carrying. This process involves analysis of the genetic makeup of the virus which can take up to two weeks.

What symptoms can the Omicron variant carry?

Doctors in South Africa are suggesting that the symptoms which are created by the new variant are more mild than their previous counterparts, although the World Health Organisation are warning it remains too early to say anything conclusive.