Omicron the latest mutant iteration of the coronavirus has about 50 mutations, including 30 in its spike protein, the portion that latches onto our cells, paving the way for entry into our bodies. This might expedite its access leading to greater rates of transmission in those who don’t have symptoms and possibly even more severe infections but we don’t have clear answers to these possibilities yet. Early indications from South Africa where this mutation originated are that infections are mild, news that some pundits have latched onto with enthusiasm claiming that we might now witness the unfolding of a more benign and more easily manageable form of this virus, but other experts caution that more malicious disease tends to spike sometime after the initial sickness manifests. What we do know is that those who have been previously infected, thought to confer possible stronger and more enduring resistance are vulnerable to reinfection with this mutation, as are the fully vaccinated, 2 cases in Australia have already been documented in those who had received double doses of the Pfizer vaccine.
To more completely ascertain if this is a blimp or a more concerning trend tests are already underway to determine how effective antibodies from the vaccinated are at neutralizing this mutation. Sounding guardedly optimistic health authorities expect that as they do for the Delta strain our current crop of vaccines will at least prevent severe illness and mounting fatalities hence they are encouraging all of us to get vaccinated or update our status with booster shots if appropriate. They are also reiterating the importance of mask wearing and social distancing, sage advice that we might all need to heed as indoor wearing of masks is about to be discarded and is adhered to only sloppily anyway. Social distancing is now virtually obsolete. To cover all contingencies vaccine manufacturers are already locked and loaded to churn out mutation targeted vaccines if what is currently available proves to be ineffective.
But vaccinating, mask wearing, sanitising and distancing are just some of the strategies we can embrace to upscale our defences. Research suggests that low levels of glutathione, a potent antioxidant, and vitamin D reduce our capacity to resist the coronavirus and aside from boosting these there are a myriad other supplements and dietary initiatives that I’ve previously alluded to that can be harnessed to guard against this ever-evolving threat.