The Omicron variant may contain a small part of the genetic material for the common cold virus, according to a new study.
Scientists from Cambridge, Massachusetts-based data analytics firm nference, have attempted to bring more clarity to this new variant that experts around the world are currently scrambling to find answers to.
They found that the Omicron variant might have picked up a part of the common cold virus in its mutation.
This could potentially mean that the virus could transmit more easily and be more evasive to human immune response, while also displaying mild cold-like symptoms.
U.S. top health official Anthony Fauci said that thus far the virus is not displaying a great level of severity.
But experts say that it's still too early to write off the Omicron variant as completely innocuous.
"We don't know what's going to happen once the variant hits potentially vulnerable populations, and there's the question of long covid."
The virus so far,.. has been detected in at least 45 countries.
The strain has also been found in about one third of U.S. states already, according to local health officials.
Early data suggests that Omicron is more contagious than Delta, and some say that it has the potential to replace Delta as the dominant strain.
The World Health Organization says that the severity and the full impact of this virus strain will only become clear as time passes.
Kim Yeon-seung, Arirang News