Experts in Singapore have warned that the new and supposedly more contagious variant Omicron is likely to replace Delta over the coming weeks as the dominant global variant. Dr Sebastian Maurer-Stroh, executive director of the state-owned Agency for Science, Technology and Research’s Bioinformatics Institute has said the virus has a reproductive advantage and it is spreading very quickly.
He said, of the genome submissions sent to the Munich-headquartered Gisaid, a data science initiative that provides the shared genome platform for Covid, the Omicron strain comprised between 7 percent and 27 percent of new submissions over the past month.
The figures refer to all continents except Africa. Noted Professor Dale Fisher, a senior consultant at the National University Hospital’s Division of Infectious Diseases said most experts in the field believe Omicron will replace Delta as the dominant strain.
While the Delta variant has 13 mutations with nine on the spike protein, Omicron has about 50 mutations not seen together before, and 32 of them are on the spike protein.
The new variant was first detected in South Africa on November 11, and then in Botswana and Hong Kong, before it rippled across more than 110 countries, as at last weekend.