This should be pretty easy to identify quickly here in the US and in other places. This variant has an s-gene deletion that shows up on PCR testing, and that deletion is unique to it relative to what's going around now. The other testing markers remain unchanged, so PCR testing should remain accurate. But you can extrapolate the positive PCR tests that show this s-gene deletion, where the test is only positive on 2 of the three markers, and from that you can then sequence those samples for Omicron and get a very high percentage chance of finding it. This is what they have done in the Netherlands, etc. In other words it's evading one of the three PCR markers that are standard, and as such you can get a high(er) probability of LIKELY identifying it only from a PCR test.
Just an interesting tidbit. It shouldn't be hard to find, as you can narrow samples to sequence based on the s gene deletion being present in the PCR tests.
The South African NICD has said B.1.1.529 has a deletion within the S gene that allows for rapid identification of this variant.
“However, most other targets (including the N and RdRp genes) remain unaffected from specimens tested in over 100 specimens from testing laboratories in Gauteng so it is unlikely that overall PCR test sensitivity is affected. These PCR tests typically detect at least two different SARS-CoV-2 targets, which serves as a backup in the case of a mutation arising in one,” the NICD said.
could be a cold or airborne Ebola, or anything in between. Also, however mild or severe it is or isn't, being so different means immunity (natural, vaccine, WHATEVER, will likely be impacted). I'm not even sure how they know it is covid even. I mean it is I guess, but how it mutated into this, out of nowhere, even in Africa, just boggles the mind. We have no clue about anything with it as far as I can tell, other than it is spreading person to person, has community spread, and that's about it. Will take weeks to know the real impact. Again, hope it's a cold, but you have to assume it will escape at least some immunity. Kinda makes vaccine or natural covid immunity seem like a huge waste. I mean you get a vaccine, then get covid, think you're "immune" only to have this come up? Maybe it's a cold, and this is the end of it.
Just for comparison, AY.103 is the most common flavor of Delta in the US now. So I compared it to Omicron just to see the differences. Wow. It is more different compared to Delta than Delta is different to the original Wuhan strain. And then some. It is going to be different, with different symptoms for sure. Have a hunch it will either be much less severe, or much more. Just have to wait and see.
Also, this is interesting. Shows how far off the covid reservation Omicron actually is. As mentioned above, VASTLY different. Let's hope on the good side.
One more thing, this chart showing mutations for Omicron, it's only showing the divergence within the S gene, the spike, from which our vaccines are derived. This is the worry with the vaccines, in a single chart.