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Thursday August 11, 2022

‘Omicron has many more mutations than Delta’

Omicron carries about 50 mutations not seen in combination before

By News Report
November 29, 2021
A first image of the Omicron variant, compared to the Delta variant, made by the Bambino Gesù Hospital in Rome. -AFP
A first image of the Omicron variant, compared to the Delta variant, made by the Bambino Gesù Hospital in Rome. -AFP

ROME: The new Covid variant Omicron has many more mutations than the Delta variant, according to a first "image" of this new variant initially detected in South Africa, produced and published by the prestigious Bambino Gesu hospital in Rome.

On the three-dimensional "image", which looks like a map, "we can clearly see that the Omicron variant presents many more mutations than the Delta variant, concentrated above all in one area of the protein that interacts with human cells", the team of researchers said in a statement Sunday.

"This does not automatically mean that these variations are more dangerous, just that the virus has further adapted to the human species by generating another variant," the researchers said.

"Other studies will tell us if this adaptation is neutral, less dangerous or more dangerous," they added. The research team focused on the search for mutations in "the three-dimensional structure of the spike protein", Claudia Alteri, professor of clinical microbiology at Milan State University and a researcher at Bambino Gesu, told AFP.

According to New York Times, Omicron carries about 50 mutations not seen in combination before, including more than 30 mutations on the spike protein that the coronavirus uses to attach to human cells. Omicron’s spike protein has several mutations that are found in other variants of concern and that are thought to make the virus more infectious.

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