According to a team of researchers based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, the Omicron variant of COVID-19 appears to share genetic code with the virus responsible for causing the common cold.
This, the researchers say, could explain why Omicron variant seems to spread easily with extremely mild symptoms.
The researchers are from Nference, a data analytics firm that originally found the genetic code and have now written a pre-print study that is currently awaiting peer review.
According to the New York Post, “The mutation could mean the virus transmits more easily, while only causing mild or asymptomatic disease,” per the study.
— New York Post (@nypost) December 5, 2021
“By virtue of Omicron adopting this insertion,” said researcher Venky Soundararajan, who co-authored the study, “It is essentially taking a leaf out of the seasonal coronaviruses’ page, which [explains] … how it lives and transmits more efficiently with human beings,” he said, according to the Washington Post.
This seems to corroborate most published experiences with the Omicron variant.
Since the variant was discovered in Africa, virtually all media reports describing those who have contracted it have noted mild symptoms.
The Omicron variant has also tended to infect people who have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19. This was the case in Botswana, where four vaccinated people contracted the virus, in California where one vaccinated person contracted the virus, and in Colorado where a vaccinated person contracted the virus, among other locations. This has led some to refer to the variant as “The Vaccinated Variant.”
Regardless, the Biden White House has stressed vaccination as the only possible answer to the spread of the Omicron variant, and White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain says that Americans should receive a third dose of the controversial COVID-19 vaccines, something popularly referred to as a booster shot, to help stop the mild new variant.