Omicron – It is Time we know how to Handle it
February 1, 2022
We all know so many facts about COVID-19 that if asked to write an essay, we all will score huge. Covid regretfully has become a part of our lives.
Instead of being afraid of it. It’s time we know how to handle it.
Stressing upon the primary diagnostic tool of COVID-19, that is, RT-PCR.
The expanded form is Real-Time Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase
Chain Reaction. RTPCR can provide information on whether or not a patient has been affected with SARS-CoV-2 by detecting and measuring the VIRUS genetic material. It is of great value to public health practitioners or anyone in the healthcare community involved with the Covid-19 response. It’s sensitive and fast.
Let’s see how it works. To begin with, a trained healthcare worker will use a swab to collect nasopharyngeal specimens from the patient’s nasopharynx. The RNA from the sample is extracted and added to the reaction mixture. Then the results are obtained.
After all this Greek and Latin, let’s understand why this RT-PCR is important…It is a simple test, and getting the sample is easy. The results are very accurate. It’s a sensitive test. This test also gives the CT values, which indicate the viral load and judge the severity of the disease. The lower the CT values higher is the viral load, and vice versa.
With the recent unfolding of the new variant Omicron, tracing and monitoring its breakout is vital to site practical solutions to keep the spread under control. Omicron spreads very fast with no warning signs and less incubation period.
Symptoms of Omicron
Body ache, Fatigue, Headache, Fever in the initial days. This eventually leads to a dry cough with a cold, sneezing and water from the nose. If this does not settle in the first few days, it is a moderate to severe symptom to check and monitor Omicron.
- Avoid public gatherings of more than 200 people
- Wear your N95 mask
- Wash your hands for 20 seconds or sanitise regularly
- Maintain physical distance – 6 feet distance
- Home isolation in case of fever and other symptoms
- Take your vaccinations (2 doses + booster) on priority as vaccines prevent severe illness, hospitalisations & deaths
- RT-PCR test in case of symptoms is a must to know your status
Omicron evolved from a person with a fragile or compromised immune system. Usually, viruses are broken down and destroyed when our immune system functions to its optimal level. Still, if our immune system is weak, the viruses evolve and replicate in our bodies.
The severity of Omicron and variants of COVID-19, including the Delta variant, is dominant and can cause severe disease or death, specifically in vulnerable people. Thus precaution is the key to preventing this disease. The RT-PCR tests detect the infection with Omicron with other variants.
The take-home message is that RT-PCR is a sensitive and specific test detecting the COVID virus. It is easy to perform and equally easy to interpret. The good thing is that it is widely available too. So kindly get this test done even if there is a hint of suspicion and correlating symptoms concerning COVID-19.