Researchers believe the Omicron variant contains fragments of another virus, possibly one that causes the common cold in humans.
According to a pre-print study published Thursday, the data analytics company Nference discovered a piece of genetic code in the virus Omicron that can cause a cold.
According to Venky Soundararajan, a biological engineer who co-wrote the study, Omicron may be appearing more accustomed to being found in humans by mutating to include this piece.
He also remarked that “the do-it-yourself approach is quite interesting.” in that by adopting this insertion “, Omicron is taking a leaf out of the seasonal coronaviruses’ book, showing the human way of living and transmitting viruses,” he said.
New Sequences in Omicron
The study’s authors believe COVID-19 can pick up the genetic sequence of the other virus when a person is infected with both pathogens.
The study, which has yet to be peer-reviewed, suggests that the mutation enhances the virus’ ability to transmit while producing only mild or asymptomatic disease.
There is no evidence that Omicron causes more severe illness, such as hospitalization.
The virus is more infectious than other variants, according to health experts.
According to the country’s National Institute for Communicable Diseases, Omicron has become the dominant variant in South Africa. It was first discovered, accounting for 74 per cent of samples sequenced last month.