General Practice 2022

Symptoms of COVID-19 variants (Delta, Ômicron and others)

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Symptoms of COVID-19 variants (Delta, Ômicron and others)
Symptoms of COVID-19 variants (Delta, Ômicron and others)
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Variant is a term used to refer to genetic alterations that have been identified in a particular infectious agent, which may make it have a greater capacity for infection and/or transmission, as well as greater resistance to the action of the immune system, for example. example.

The symptoms of infection by the variants are the same as those present in the infection by the "original" COVID-19 virus, and there may be a dry and persistent cough, excessive tiredness, headache, muscle pain and diarrhea in some cases. Despite this, it is important that the variant is identified, as some are more related to serious infections, and it is essential that supportive treatment is started soon after the onset of symptoms.

In general, what is known so far is that the variants of COVID-19 are, in fact, easier to transmit and to cause infection due to the presence of mutations in the S protein, which is the protein present on the surface of the virus. However, further studies are needed to assess the behavior of these variants and their effects on the organism.

Symptoms of infection by the variants

Until now, no differences have been identified in terms of symptoms between the variants and, therefore, the only way to identify the type of variant responsible for the infection is through molecular laboratory examination, in which the identification of the mutations that are characteristic of each variant.

The symptoms of infection by the variants remain the same as those of infection by the "original" virus, namely:

  • Persistent dry cough;
  • Excessive fatigue;
  • Fever above 38º C;
  • Muscle pain;
  • Headache;
  • Sore throat;
  • Loss of taste and/or smell;
  • Diarrhea, in some cases;
  • Nausea or vomiting;
  • Difficulty breathing, in the most severe cases.

Take our online test to see if you might be infected with COVID-19.

Identification of the variant is important for epidemiology, because by knowing the characteristics of the most circulating virus in the region, it is possible to establish more effective measures for the identification of the virus, surveillance, prevention and control of the infection, which allow to reduce the number cases and even facilitate treatment. In addition, despite leading to the development of the same symptoms, infection by the alpha and delta variants have been associated with more severe infections and death.Here's what to do to prevent infection with SARS-CoV-2.

Worry variants

The variants of concern are those that seem to be more easily transmitted, are more resistant to the control and prevention measures adopted and have a greater potential to cause serious infections, due to mutations in protein S, which is the protein present in virus surface that allows binding to human cells.

This category currently includes the Ômicron variant (B.1.1.529) and its subvariants (BA.1, BA.2, XE, BA.3, BA.4, BA.5). The ômicron variant has been identified in several countries, mainly in South Africa, and is characterized by the highest transmission capacity.

Previously, these were also considered variants of concern:

  • Alpha (B.1.1.7), first identified in the UK;
  • Beta (B.1.351/ B.1.351.2/ B.1.351.3), first identified in South Africa;
  • Gamma (P.1/ P.1.1/ P.1.2), first identified in Brazil;
  • Delta (B.1617.2), first identified in India.

These variants are no longer considered of concern due to the effectiveness of actions taken by the World He alth Organization that aimed to decrease the circulation of these variants and their impact on the world population.

Variants of Concern for Lineages in Monitoring (VOC-LUM)

Due to the widespread transmission of the ômicron variant and the emergence of subvariants, the World He alth Organization has included a new category for tracking variants in order to flag and monitor the strains of variants of concern that may arise and pose risk for he alth.

Thus, variants that "belong" to a variant of concern are classified as variant of concern with lineage under monitoring, have characteristics that guarantee greater transmission capacity in relation to variants of concern and that have changes in their structure who can interfere in the he alth situation of the place.

Currently, the VOC-LUMs are related to the Ômicron variant BA.4, BA.5, BA.2.12.1, BA.2.9, BA.2.11, BA.2.13.

Interest variants

The variants of interest are those that have also been identified but that do not yet appear to have the same ease of transmission or severity as the variants of concern. However, according to the World He alth Organization, there are currently no variants of interest. Previously, some of the variants that were considered of interest were Lambda, Mu, Kappa, Iota, Theta, Eta, Zeta, and Epsilon.

Monitoring variants

The variants under monitoring are those that have genetic alterations that could represent a future risk, but their characteristics and epidemiological impact are still being studied. However, at the moment, according to the World He alth Organization, there are no variants in monitoring.

Are vaccines effective against variants?

To date, all available vaccines are effective against the circulating variants, and it has been verified that the administration of the vaccine is capable of effectively stimulating the immune response, reducing the transmission of the virus and the incidence of infection. However, further studies are being carried out to assess the duration of immunity against these variants, as well as the effect on possible new mutations of the virus.

In a study carried out in the United Kingdom to evaluate the efficacy of Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines against the delta variant [1], it was found that the immunity conferred by the Pfizer vaccine increased from 92% to 78% after 90 days of administration of the second dose, while the efficacy of AstraZeneca increased from 69% to 61% after 90 days.

These decreases are considered normal and vaccines continue to be highly recommended to prevent the development of the disease, as they still demonstrate great activity against SARS-CoV-2.In some countries, the possibility of administering a third dose of the vaccine to people with a weakened immune system has been studied in order to promote even more protection against the delta variant.

Learn more about vaccines for COVID-19.

Is it possible to have two variants at the same time?

Although it is considered an extremely rare situation, becoming infected with two variants of COVID-19 at the same time is possible. So far, few cases have been recorded, however contamination by two variants at the same time has already been identified in patients in Brazil and Belgium. According to reports, infection with two variants does not appear to produce more severe symptoms.

What to do in case of COVID-19

If you have symptoms suggestive of COVID-19, have a positive test or are in contact with someone infected, please enter your details to find out how to act:

  • option=b, @block-A1"' > I tested positive for COVID-19.
  • option=c, @block-A1"' > I have symptoms suggestive of COVID-19.
  • option=d, @block-A1"' > I've been in contact with positive case.
  • option=f, @block-F1"' > I've had COVID-19, but I still have symptoms.
  • option=e, @block-A1"' > I want to know more information.
  • country=en, @block-B1"}, {"condition":"option=c", "action":">country=en, @block-C1"}, {"condition":"option=d", "action":">country=en, @block-D2"}, {"condition":"option=e", "action":">country=en, @block-E1"}]' > Portugal
  • country=br, @block-B1"}, {"condition":"option=c", "action":">country=br, @block-C1"}, {"condition":"option=d", "action":">country=br, @block-D1"}, {"condition":"option=e", "action":">country=br, @block-E1"}]' >
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      It is possible that your symptoms are a sign of another infection, such as the flu or H3N2, for example. Still, we advise you to repeat the COVID-19 test within the next 3 days. Check out the differences between flu, COVID-19 and a cold.

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      • Yes.
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      Your contact is considered high risk. You do not need to isolate yourself, but you must maintain all personal protective measures for 14 days, be aware of the appearance of symptoms and perform a COVID test as soon as possible (rapid test or RT-PCR).If the result of the 1st test is negative, you must repeat the test between the 3rd and 5th day after contact with the positive person.

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