The new Omicron variant of the Coronavirus was discovered by a South African doctor and she was the one who sounded the first alarm on it. She said that its symptoms are “unusual but mild” in healthy patients but there are chances that this variant could effect old and unvaccinated people the most.
Dr. Angelique Coetzee who found out about it is a practicing doctor since past 30 years. She chairs the South African Medical Association (SAMA). She said that she had found a new strain of the virus after COVID-19 patients at her private practice in Pretoria exhibited strange symptoms.
“Their symptoms were so different and so mild from those I had treated before,” Coetzee told The Telegraph.
After a family of four tested positive for the virus with symptoms including acute exhaustion, she contacted South Africa’s vaccine advisory committee on Nov. 18.
So far, she’s had two dozen patients, largely young guys, who have tested positive and displayed signs of the new type. She estimated that almost half of the patients were unvaccinated. Those who were afflicted did not lose their ability to smell or taste.
“It presents mild disease with symptoms being sore muscles and tiredness for a day or two not feeling well,” Coetzee told the paper. “So far, we have detected that those infected do not suffer the loss of taste or smell. They might have a slight cough. There are no prominent symptoms. Of those infected some are currently being treated at home.”
She described one “very interesting case” involving a 6-year-old girl.
She had “a temperature and a very high pulse rate, and I wondered if I should admit her. But when I followed up two days later, she was so much better,” she said.
Coetzee noted that all of her patients were healthy, but she voiced concern that elderly or unvaccinated patients, especially those with comorbidities like diabetes or heart problems, could be struck much harder by the omicron.
“What we have to be concerned about today is that if older, unvaccinated people become infected with the new variation and are not vaccinated, we will see a lot of people with a severe [type of the] disease,” she warned.