COVID-19 is no laughing matter as millions have perished from the deadly virus. However, Twitter couldn’t resist making light of the World Health Organization’s (WHO), naming of a new variant, Omicron, getting the term Decepticon trending as a result.
As seen in a post from WHO, the B.1.1.529 variant that is currently ravaging South Africa was named in a press release earlier on Friday (Nov. 26).
From the WHO:
The B.1.1.529 variant was first reported to WHO from South Africa on 24 November 2021. The epidemiological situation in South Africa has been characterized by three distinct peaks in reported cases, the latest of which was predominantly the Delta variant. In recent weeks, infections have increased steeply, coinciding with the detection of B.1.1.529 variant. The first known confirmed B.1.1.529 infection was from a specimen collected on 9 November 2021.
This variant has a large number of mutations, some of which are concerning. Preliminary evidence suggests an increased risk of reinfection with this variant, as compared to other VOCs. The number of cases of this variant appears to be increasing in almost all provinces in South Africa. Current SARS-CoV-2 PCR diagnostics continue to detect this variant. Several labs have indicated that for one widely used PCR test, one of the three target genes is not detected (called S gene dropout or S gene target failure) and this test can therefore be used as marker for this variant, pending sequencing confirmation. Using this approach, this variant has been detected at faster rates than previous surges in infection, suggesting that this variant may have a growth advantage.
In simple terms, WHO believes that Omicron has the potential to be worse than the Delta variant, which caused an uptick in cases in the past year. Scientists are working around the clock worldwide to study the new mutation and the United States and other nations have banned travel from several Southern African nations in an attempt to curtail the spread.
Omicron is a member of the evil Decepticons, the sworn enemies of the Optimus Prime-led Autobots.
On Twitter, reaction to the Omicron cropped up as expected. We’ve got those reactions below.
We think the point’s been made.