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Similarity between Omicron and Measles
The Omicron variant of SARS-CoV-2 is highly contagious like measles, confirmed the immunologist Alfredo Corell, who made this statement to the media and this information caused a great stir.
Obviously, Covid-19 does not cause the same discomforts as measles. The statement assures its infectious nature and not its side effects.
The Omicron variation caused an incredible mix of information, in that it was declared to have innumerable transformations that basically focused on the recognition zone between the S protein of infection and the ACE2 protein of human cells.
This information and the way it had been sequenced, showed that it prevailed over different variations.
The political and media publicity was not due to a greater severity of the symptoms, on the contrary, all this commotion was due to the rapidity of infection.
As with other variants of the past, when another ancestry is recognized it is because it already exists among the population.
Despite all the precautionary measures that have been taken by the various states to close the borders, they have yielded little result. Currently, in all nations, including Spain, Ómicron is outperforming past variations, including Delta.
What is the infectious limit for Omicron?
To decide the limit of spread of a pathogenic living being, a limit known as the essential number or fundamental rate of spread (R₀) is applied.
It is nothing more than the number of new cases produced by a positive case over a period of contamination.
For example, supposing that a microorganism has an R₀ of 2, it means that an infected individual will contaminate two other people. In addition, that means that from now on the number of contaminated individuals increases dramatically.
The R₀ limit is typical of infections, but can vary according to the conditions, also depending on the amount of contact.
In pandemic cases, it is extremely important to decrease the R₀. This is done by taking preventive or quarantine measures, to prevent the infected individual from contaminating many more. This is the best way to reduce it.
As soon as the R₀ reaches a value lower than 1, the infectious agent disappears after a while. If it is higher, the risk of contagion increases.
Among the most infectious microorganisms, we observe measles infection, which is transmitted by air and whose R₀ is in the range of 12 and 18.
In the list of infections, after measles is whooping cough, with an R₀ of 12 to 17; then diphtheria, from 6 to 7; It is followed by smallpox, then poliomyelitis, and finally rubella, with an R₀ of 5 to 7.
The Delta variant, which immediately went live around the world, is rated with an R₀ of around 7 and the new Omicron variant, which is now overtaking the delta variant, is rated with an R₀ of 10.
All of these diseases have been controlled through vaccines, despite the fact that they are highly contagious pathogens. Currently, there are vaccines for all of them, which are applied in the first years of birth.
Despite the fact that they comply with a high contagious capacity, they no longer cause us diseases. There have only been outbreaks that have occurred in groups that have not been vaccinated in the first years of life.
As the virus has spread among people, the R₀ of the different variations of SARS-CoV-2 has been expanding. Recently published research shows that the R₀ of the main variation that began to spread around the world was 2.5.
The Delta variant, existing throughout the world, is estimated to have a Ro of approximately 7 and the new Omicron variant, receives a Ro of 10.
The Ro for influenza of 191 8 is between 1.4 and 2.3, which is lower than that of the Coronavirus and lower than that of the current variant. To which must be added a circumstance of global versatility that is much more restricted than the current one. Therein also lies the question.
Air as a method of transmission of infection
Another revealing aspect is that both infections, measles and COVID-19, use a similar course of transmission: the air.
Despite initial questions about its transmission instrument, it is now clear that SARS-CoV-2 is sent primarily through the air. That is the most significant component in its spread.
Although there are other infections such as HIV (4.2 to 10.6), hepatitis C (2.1 to 3.9) and Ebola (1.2 to 1.9) that have alarming R₀, their transmission instrument is effectively controllable.
However, when it comes to an airborne infection, with a high R₀ and a long presymptomatic period, contacts are excessively difficult to keep away.
To this must be added that many infected people experiencing the disease asymptomatically.
In Spain, tests have been carried out recently, and it has been obtained as a result that 30% of people with this disease have been this way. And in case of presenting side effects they have been so mild that they have not needed emergency medical attention.
This makes the spread of the infection distressing, as many individuals could be contributing to the spread of the infection without recognizing it.
Infections develop, especially if they have figured out how to contaminate a new person.
At the beginning of the pandemic, strict measures were required to prevent large infections and thus prevent health systems from collapsing. Without a vaccine, without defined medical treatments, without enough information, the world lived days of restlessness.
Currently, the majority of the population is vaccinated with the necessary dose and the immune system is prepared with special cells to recognize and act quickly, even more so if it has the third dose.
A few people with low immunity and a small percentage of people who still do not have the first dose of the required vaccine, are those who are in real danger.
The information in Spain shows that unvaccinated individuals are in excess of risk of being in hospitalization, ICU admissions or death.
Currently, the discussion about the actions to take or not to take is extremely confusing. An evolving circumstance, a virus with more rapid contagion, and a high level of immunized population are very important points.
As has been done in part because of the common flu, essential care support and immunization are the most appropriate wellness measures.
People can contribute by reducing contacts as much as possible and staying away from situations or events that favor the spread of infection.
The main protection and way out of this pandemic is immunity and the distancing of people at the time of being infected.
In this way we will reach the equality of the four existing human coronaviruses, which cause colds and that once did not stop their way, as SARS-CoV-2 is doing.