“Vaccination and boosting help prevent further infection of COVID-19 and prevent the emergence of new variants like Omicron,” said Dr. Kathleen E. Toomy, Commissioner of Georgia DPH. ..
Public health officials say the variant was likely already outbreak for some time before it was identified in South Africa on November 25. As of Wednesday, WHO has reported cases of Omicron in at least 23 countries, “growing numbers.”
“It’s certainly not surprising that Omicron was discovered in Atlanta, one of the most dynamic and international cities in the world. Omicron came here with Delta, so it could delay further infections. Doing what we know is more important than ever, “said Dr. Michael Ericksen, founder of Georgia State University’s School of Public Health. “Specifically, you will be fully vaccinated and will be encouraged if you qualify. It is also important to have frequent tests so that if the test is positive, you should be isolated. You can prevent it from spreading. “
Scientists are struggling to learn about Omicron’s infectivity, severity, and ability to evade vaccines. Even if existing vaccines prove to be less effective against variants, public health experts say that vaccination and booster immunization can provide sufficient antibody protection to stop severe illness and death. increase.
In the days leading up to the state’s first incident, Georgia’s DPH and private testing firms searched for mutants using genomic sequencing, a process that finds small changes in the genetic code of the virus. This process is used around the world to identify new variants, but the United States is lagging behind in other countries.
The number of sequences performed has increased dramatically since January across the country, including Georgia, according to GISAID, a tracking initiative that provides a global database of genomic sequencing of coronavirus samples.
According to GISAID, a tracking initiative that provides a global database of genomic sequencing of coronavirus samples, Georgia has hundreds of sequences executed in January to over 7,500 in October and 4,741 in November. Increased.
Genome sequencing is a complex process that takes place in a small number of positive coronavirus samples. The process begins with the extraction of genetic material from a positive sample taken from a COVID-19 patient. The sequencing machine then maps the entire genetic code of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. The machine can take up to 3 days to complete that step, after which scientists must manually review the findings.
However, most confirmed coronavirus test samples are not sequenced.