Health

How to prevent infection with strain Omicron


To prevent Omicron mutation, people need to inject two doses of the vaccine, a booster dose if eligible, wear a mask and avoid crowded places.

According to Dr. Francis Collins, director of the US National Institutes of Health, Omicron is being widely noticed, but infections and deaths are still due to Delta mutations.

“Delta is the real danger. Omicron is not certain,” he said.

It will take experts several weeks to learn about every aspect of the new strain, such as its rate of spread, virulence or ability to evade immunity. In the meantime, “what we need to do is protect ourselves more,” said Dr. Julie Vaishampayan of the Infectious Diseases Society of America.

The first way is two doses of vaccine and booster shot if eligible. This is a method of activating antibodies against the virus. Even if antibodies are no longer effective against Omicron, they still help prevent other strains.

In fact, the appearance of Omicron has made many experts change their opinion about the booster dose of vaccine in the fight against the epidemic. Previously, they argued that there was too little scientific evidence to support this regulation.

A booster dose of the Covid-19 vaccine could help improve the body’s defenses against pathogens, offsetting the advantages the virus has acquired over the course of its evolution. Experts who once opposed the booster dose now believe it could offer a good defense against the new strain. The booster dose of the vaccine slows the spread of the virus, giving scientists more time to manufacture or adjust the vaccine, if necessary.

“If it (Omicron) has strong antibody resistance, a booster dose may be needed. Still, we don’t know for sure,” said John Moore, a virologist at the Weill Cornell Medical Institute in New York. about this. I think more data is needed, but an extra barrier won’t hurt.”

A person is vaccinated against Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccine in London, England, on December 3. Photo: Reuters

People need Wear a full mask, avoid large gatherings and improve ventilation. In the United States, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) continues to recommend wearing masks in public places and areas at high risk of community transmission, regardless of vaccination status.

According to CDC guidelines, people with underlying medical conditions and taking medications that weaken the immune system will not be fully protected even if they are vaccinated. Therefore, wearing a mask is very necessary to avoid nCoV infection.

“To maximize protection and prevent nCoV infection, fully vaccinated people should still wear a mask in public, in high-risk areas,” the CDC stated. People are required to wear masks when traveling by plane, bus, train and other public transport.

According to the CDC, it is recommended to choose a mask with two or more layers of fabric, which is easy to wash and breathable. When wearing a mask, users need to ensure that their nose and mouth are completely covered. The mask must fit snugly on the face, without gaps.

Vaishampayan said that masks are especially necessary at the end of the old year and the beginning of the new year when a series of crowded events and festivals take place.

Experts recommend that countries expand testing and early tracing to find people infected with nCoV, identify the Omicron variant. Conventional PCR tests still confirm the mutant infection, because Omicron lacks a segment of the S gene commonly found in earlier versions of the virus. Scientists use this facility to screen for infections without sequencing the genes.

The World Health Organization (WHO) also considers surveillance and early detection of potential F0 cases in the community as one of the four important tools to repel Covid-19 and Omicron mutations. This is especially necessary in areas where the virus has been successfully contained or where there is limited response capacity. Through active surveillance, authorities can detect chains of transmission early and take targeted action.

Thuc Linh (Follow AP, CDC)

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