These are the peculiarities of omicron, the ‘Frankestein’ variant of SARS-CoV-2


It seems that omicron is going to become the hegemonic variant of SARS-CoV-2 in Spain and is going to displace the delta in a short time. From the WHO they have already warned that it is expanding at a worrying speed. In London it already represents 40% of cases, in England today 10%, but every so often this data is doubling.

This is stated in an interview with Infosalus by the researcher and director of Scientific Culture of the Center for Molecular Biology Severo Ochoa José Antonio López Guerrero, who qualifies the omicron variant of SARS-CoV-2 as “little Frankenstein” or “monster”, after having accumulated more than 30 mutations “in a surprising way.”

“No intermediate mutations have been seen. No missing links have been seen from the 4-5 mutations that were seen in the receptor binding zone of the delta variant to this one. Let’s say mutations have been triggered with omicron”, he emphasizes.

In this sense, the former president of the Spanish Society of Immunology and professor of Immunology at the University of Vigo, the researcher Africa González Fernández, he believes that omicron “draws a lot of attention” because it concentrates many more mutations than previous SARS-CoV-2 variants.

“This is what led us to think that its origin occurred in the same individual, for example an immunosuppressed, who could have this infection for a long time. Although omicron does have mutations shared with the gamma or delta variants, for example It has taken all the mutations that have allowed it that advantage of being more contagious, “he remarks.

From the WHO they say that omicron or this variant B.1.1.529 has a large number of mutations, some of which are “worrisome”: “Initial evidence indicates that the risk of being reinfected by this variant is higher than with other worrisome variants, and the number of cases it causes appears to be increasing in almost all South African provinces. At the moment, PCR testing is being carried out. used to diagnose SARS-CoV-2 continue to detect this variant. “


This variant was notified on November 24 for the first time to the WHO from South Africa. On its origin there are several hypotheses that are considered. José Antonio López Guerrero, also director of the NeuroVirology group of the Molecular Biology department of the Autonomous University of Madrid (UAM), points out first of all a possible homologous recombination, that is, that several variants have coincided in the same person and have generated changes of genetic material in the virus.

He also says that it is believed that SARS-CoV-2 could have passed through an animal reservoir where these mutations could be combined; or points out that there are those who comment that the virus has been lodged for a long time in an immunosuppressed person, that in South Africa there are many due to HIV, and where it can emerge with these mutations, which is what Dr. González has also pointed out.


“All the studies point, and it is already being reinforced by epidemiological data, at a very high transmission,” according to this expert. It does believe that what is already clear is that it will soon become the hegemonic, the dominant variant of SARS-CoV-2. “There is little that can be done, other than trying to track it down and put a stop to it, so that it is not a tsunami and we have hospital pressure again. Everything indicates that it could replace the delta variant, which is now the one we have as hegemonic in Spain” , he underlines.

Regarding how it can affect vaccines, López Guerrero maintains that there are studies of neutralization by antibodies of infected and vaccinated people that show that omicron “seems to have some resistance” to some sera, although he states that “it seems more resistant in people with AstraZeneca than with RNA vaccines. “

Remember, in turn, that there are also studies that endorse that the complete vaccination schedule continues to be effective so as not to invalidate the vaccination. “There is talk of a 60-70% effectiveness, a drop of about 20 points, but this is still an effective vaccine. These data are similar to those of other vaccines that we use, or in the case of malaria, for example , this percentage would be a Nobel Prize “, assesses López Guerrero.


Another of the characteristics of omicron, according to preliminary scientific works, is that it seems that the intensity of the clinic has decreased, that is, the symptoms of patients who contract COVID-19 with the omicron variant is milder.

“It seems that it is less virulent a priori per capita, that is, less lethal per infected person; but logically, a virus with less lethality per infected person, if we multiply it by millions of people, since it has a greater dispersal capacity, it is it becomes a more deadly virus per million inhabitants, so that although it causes very little clinical damage, when it expands a lot, there can always be more people with clinical damage, “he warns.

Therefore, López Guerrero, who directs the NeuroCovid Project, an initiative to study new viricides and antivirals against human coronavirus, maintains that omicron seems to be a more contagious variant than the previous ones, with a lesser clinical picture.

It is seen little by little but it is the natural tendency of viruses; although each one has its own personality and there may be exceptions. But the usual thing is that they learn to disperse more, causing the least possible damage. These are the viruses that are selected, the ones that go unnoticed as they spread. The very aggressive ones that cause rapid and also severe damage cause these people to withdraw from the market, and therefore the virus can no longer circulate, “explains the specialist.

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These are the peculiarities of omicron, the ‘Frankestein’ variant of SARS-CoV-2