It has been two years since the first mysterious case of ‘pneumonia’ and the first known death was reported in the central Chinese city of Wuhan—before it was identified as novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, it spread widely throughout the populace until it was declared a pandemic not long after.
Numen Health recently held a webinar with renowned COVID Expert Dr. Darrel DeMello, who has treated over 10000+ COVID affected patients since the beginning of the pandemic. He was joined by Numen's Chief Scientific Officer, Dr. Alben Sigamani, who has extensive background and interest in clinical trials and research.
What is Omicron?
Among COVID-19 variants, "omicron" certainly attracts your attention. The name alone makes an ominous impression. In late November, the World Health Organization classified the COVID variant as a cause of concern, with the number of positive cases of omicron currently rising across the country. As we enter the third year of the pandemic, what do we know about the new COVID variant?
To date, there have been five variants, several of interest, and countless others. The latest COVID 19 variant, Omicron, was first detected in South Africa and reported to WHO on 24 November 2021, and has since been detected in Botswana, Hong Kong, India and Israel. Based on what we know about Omicron so far, it appears to spread faster than the Delta variant, which may explain the recent increase in cases worldwide. As a lot of healthcare experts have been reporting rising worries about Omicron, Dr. Darrel explains,
"In virology, the first variant is always lethal, as seen in the first wave. However, the latter strains of the virus become less lethal and more transmissible. In spite of over 50 wide variations, Omicron doesn't pose a significant threat to your life.”
Africa has seen a massive 33% drop in cases since the peak of the wave, with an average of 13 per 100,000 population per day. In addition, the hospitalisation rate seen for Omicron cases is low, with the admission rates being 77% lower than in cases reported for the delta variant. In India, we see three types of variants, with people reporting cases of delta variant at 10-15%, omicron variant at 10-15%, and a delta descendant variant as well. Despite all the attention Omicron is receiving, the overwhelming cause of infections and deaths in many places remains the extra-contagious delta variant. In India, the danger is that you don't know whether you are infected with the omicron or delta variant.
"While the virus has been mutating, clinicians are still seeing parts of the previous strain affect people. Irrespective of the intensity of Omicron symptoms, people should not disregard the symptoms," warns Dr. Alben.
There are many patients on the Numen Platform with conditions such as dyslipidemia, uncontrolled hypertension, diabetes, and abnormal cholesterol who have reported adverse experiences while dealing with previous variants of the virus. However, Omicron should not be dismissed as a milder variant due to its potential to cause less severe symptoms as comorbid conditions have to be well controlled by patients to prevent aggravation of conditions.
It's not advisable for patients with comorbidities to treat themselves at home. Rather, they should reach out to experts immediately. An individual can suffer from COVID-induced metabolic disorders, aggravating their comorbidities," reports Dr. Darrel. "I have lost 21 patients out of 13000+ cases I've treated and 20 have been diabetics. I have seen hyper inflammation of the pancreas, where the pancreatic cells fail to produce insulin. A non-diabetic can turn into a diabetic, a pre-diabetic can become a full blown diabetic if left untreated."
How can we safeguard ourselves?
Active management of diabetes or hypertension by adherence to medication and a healthy diet can prevent these conditions from taking a turn for the worse. In light of the new variant, we should remember to be conscious of our actions to safeguard our health and the health of those around us. Taking precautions can severely reduce the possibility of contracting COVID, such as:
- Wearing a mask that covers your nose and mouth.
- Washing your hands regularly.
- Staying adequately hydrated throughout the day.
- Keeping electrolyte levels in check
- Eating a protein-rich vegetarian diet
- Performing lots of yoga
“If you experience any symptoms, such as a light fever or vomiting, I recommend seeking medical assistance without delay. The most important thing is to reduce your risk of exposure to the virus and improve your immunity by taking care of yourself," advises Dr. Darrel.
As the number of reported cases increases, we need to take extra precautions to avoid getting infected. We still have a lot to learn about omicron, but individuals can manage health risks and stay safe from contracting or aggravating conditions by making informed decisions about their health.
If you or any of your family members are facing any symptoms, please book a consultation with Numen Health at 7411782592.