Scientists are afraid of this image, which prompted UK ministers to boost the UK’s vaccine rollout. It also led to the return of England’s mask mandates.

It details the new super-mutant Omicron variant’s 32 spike protein mutations which experts fear will make it the most infectious and vaccine-resistant strain yet.

This graphic was released by the nation’s leading variant monitoring team. It also shows how much more advanced it is than the Delta strain. There are nearly five times the number of alterations to the spike.   

As of yesterday, just 32 cases of Omicron have been detected in the UK but hundreds are expected to emerge in the coming days and there are signs it is spreading domestically already. 

The new strain shares mutations with all of the main ‘variants of concern’ — including Alpha, Beta and Delta — but has dozens more which all point to heightened transmissibility and vaccine escape.

The three images located to the right are particularly concerning as the viruses could easily sneak in. Covid Genomics UK Consortium released this new image.

Experts from the UK Government stated that they believed existing vaccines would become at least 40% weaker in order to prevent infections by new strains. 

Because current jabs are designed to recognize the spike protein from the original Chinese virus, Omicron is not.

Because of concern about the potential for the variant to become a super-spreader, No10 had to accelerate the rollout Covid boosters, ban travelers coming from various African nations and reinstate compulsory mask wearing.

There are conflicting reports about whether Omicron can cause mild or severe illnesses and how it affects vaccine effectiveness. Researchers won’t be able to determine if Omicron causes severe illness until three weeks later. Then, they will be able to isolate it in a laboratory and then expose it the blood of people who have been vaccinated or previously infected.

The World Health Organization and South African officials have stated that the majority of cases only result in mild disease. They also insist that there’s no evidence to suggest existing vaccines are less effective.   

South Africa has seen a dramatic rise in cases to 8561 per day (671 per cent compared to 1,275 one week ago), shortly after Omicron’s announcement to the international community.  

In the same period, the number of hospitalisations has more than doubled from an average of just 86 per day to 184. 

Omicron seems to spread more quickly in South Africa, where the natural immunity rate is around 80 percent. Israeli health authorities have also reported Omicron is 30 per cent more infections than the Delta strain. 

Just how heavily Omicron has mutated from both the original Covid virus and other variants such as Delta has been laid bare by new images

New images reveal how much Omicron has changed from the original Covid virus as well as other variations such Delta.

Anne von Gottberg (clinical microbiologist, South Africa’s National Health Agency) said today that there was a preponderance of Omicron in the country.  

Omicron cases are generally mild. However, this perception may be flawed because most Omicron cases are reported in those aged 30-34 years. These people are statistically less likely to contract severe Covid illnesses than the older groups. 

In just one week, Omicron is South Africa’s dominant brand 

Johannesburg-based public health officials revealed that 75% of all cases were now caused by the virus, just 8 days after South Africa raised alarm on the issue.

Dr Anne von Gottberg is a South African clinical microbiologist who told an urgent World Health Organization conference that it looked like Omicron was the predominant disease in South Africa.

Omicron has been confirmed in five of nine U.S. provinces. Officials expect Omicron to increase in four other areas, where there have yet not been any sequences.

Only 183 cases have been confirmed because there are only a few positive strains that can be tested. South Africa currently has 8,561 confirmed cases of the strain per day. This is six times more than it was 1,275 weeks ago.

Hospitalisations increased more than twice in the past two weeks from an average of 85 per day to 184. Despite reports that the strain causes mild illness, the virus was initially circulating among young people — who are not usually hospitalised with the virus.

Professor von Gottberg stated that scientists are concerned about Omicron cases being found in people who had previously been exposed to Covid. This is in contrast with the rate of reinfection during previous waves.

She said that although the virus is not more easily transmissible as Delta, it’s thought the severity of the disease and the need for vaccines to protect the patient should be.

There are contradictory reports about Omicron’s severity and impact on vaccine effectiveness. Experts caution that current information is not conclusive and will require two weeks to test the virus in laboratories.

While up to 80 percent of South Africa’s inhabitants are believed to be protected from natural infections, only a quarter of them have double-jabbed.

Professor von Gottberg stated that scientists are concerned about Omicron cases being found in people who had previously been exposed to Covid. This is in contrast with the rate of reinfection during previous waves.

However, she stated that while the virus could be transmitted to more people than Delta and is less severe, its effects are thought to be much less. Vaccines can be used to prevent it from spreading.

Omicron’s effects on vaccine efficacy are not yet known. But Israeli health chiefs expressed optimism this week, claiming that those who have received a booster Pfizer Covid vaccination or had their second jab within the past six months should be protected against Covid. 

Experts warn that current information is speculative and they will need to wait two weeks for laboratory tests.  

This variant was found in 28 countries around the world and has already been reported to be spreading since South Africa first raised alarm. The Netherlands had detected the case a week before Nigeria, who found their first case from a October sample. 

The strain was already known to be present in the UK even before scientists first noticed it last week. Nine cases were reported in Scotland by November 20, prompting speculations that it may have originated from the COP26 climate meeting or a Murrayfield Stadium rugby match against South Africa.    

Omicron’s high-level spike protein mutations have prompted concerns that the Omicron vaccine could be used to bypass the Covid protection. 

Because the jabs train the immune system of humans to recognize the spike protein from the Covid virus and mount immediate defenses,

However, vaccines that contain spike proteins would prove less effective if the Covid variant emerged sufficiently different from its ancestor. The body wouldn’t recognize the virus as a threat immediately.  

It’s still not known if Omicron represents this much-discussed vaccine avoidance variant.

Scientists will need to spend a few more weeks trying to figure out how Omicron reacts to the vaccines currently in use. This can be done by running blood tests on vaccinated people and using live virus samples.  

Omicron may have other mutations than those shown in the COG UK images. There are two of them in Omicron’s nucleocapsid and one membrane proteins, both which might make Omicron even more infectious. 

Yesterday, 32 Omicron cases were reported in the UK. None of these Omicron cases required hospitalization.  

In reaction to the emergence of to the Omicron, Boris Johnson this week set a target of offering more than 50million booster jabs to every adult by the end of January.  

A total of 32 cases of Omicron have now been detected in the UK, 22 in England and 10 in Scotland, while the vaccination status of the infected individuals is unknown none have required hospitalisation

A total of 32 cases of Omicron have now been detected in the UK, 22 in England and 10 in Scotland, while the vaccination status of the infected individuals is unknown none have required hospitalisation 

In total 18million Britons have had a booster jab so far and, after yesterday's guidance change, all 53million adults over 18 will be eligible eventually. At the current rate of 2.4million jabs per week, it would take until March to get everyone boosted

Total 18million Britons have received a booster jab thus far. Yesterday’s guidance changes will make it possible for all 53 million adults aged 18 and over to be eligible. It would take up to March for everyone to be boosted at the current rate, which is 2.4 million jabs per semaine.


GPs will be incentivised to deliver the vaccines, with £15 bonus for every jab delivered with an additional £5 per shot delivered on Sundays and a £30 premium for jabs delivered to vulnerable people in their homes. 

To accelerate the speed of rollout, the Government has also deployed 400 military medics to the booster campaign and 1500 pharmacy workers.

Omicron boosters WORK: Israeli scientists have found that Pfizer’s jab protects up to 90% of Omicron.

Israeli health officials claim that Omicron should be protected even if people have had their booster Pfizer Covid vaccination within the past six months.

Nitzan H. Horowitz, Minister of Health, yesterday stated, without citing data, that there was “room for optimism” and that the existing vaccines would protect against severe disease from super-strains. This statement was made based only on initial indications.

A report from an Israeli news channel claiming that Pfizer’s jab could prevent Omicron-related symptoms was published hours later. It is 90% effective, which is slightly lower than Delta. 

The Channel 12 news broadcast also claimed the super variant is just 30 per cent more infectious than Delta — much lower than initially feared.

Or, to put it in perspective, Delta is 75% more infectious than Alpha, which was outpaced earlier in the year.  

But whether Omicron is as scary as is being made out to be is in question with the World Health Organization stating yesterday that most cases of the variant are ‘mild’ or show no symptoms at all. 

According to a spokesperson from the Global Health Agency, early data suggest that the mutant strain has a greater ability to infect people than Delta. This is true even for fully-vaccinated individuals.

However, there are no signs that the existing vaccines won’t be as effective as they were in preventing deaths or hospitalisations, an anonymous source told Reuters. 

The WHO did not specify the evidence, however the comment is the first hint that Omicron may not be causing as much havoc worldwide as previously thought. 

However, there have been alarming developments from South Africa which alerted the entire world last week to Omicron.

Professor von Gottberg of the National Institute for Communicable Diseases NICD stated that 183 out 249 South Africa-related cases were caused by super strain. 

Last Wednesday, 1,275 people tested positive in South Africa — marking a 3.6 per cent positivity rate.

However, experts caution that they will need to wait at least two more weeks to gain a full understanding of the impact this variant might have. 

Maria Van Kerkhove is an epidemiologist with the WHO. She said that’surveillance bias could underestimate the severity’ of Omicron because the primary spreaders have been young people. 

SAGE, No10’s scientific advisors warned Britain that there could be a “potentially extremely significant wave with associated hospitalsisations” this winter. 

Cases have been soaring in the country since the super mutant Omicron variant emerged, with experts stating the variant appears to be more infectious than Delta and has mutations that may allow it to dodge vaccine protection.

South African scientists stated that the strain was rapidly becoming dominant in briefings on new figures. They also said: “The mutation profile, epidemiological picture suggests Omicron can get around some immune protection (to cause infections), but protection against severe diseases and death should be lower.

Omicron was found in Britain BEFORE South Africa raised alarm. Nine Scottish cases were all related to one ‘event’ on November 20, just four days prior to official discovery 

Omicron was in the UK days before South Africa warned the world of the new Covid variant, it has emerged after the majority of cases in Scotland were linked to a single ‘event’ on November 20.

Nicola Sturgeon said that nine out of 10 Scotland cases can be traced back at a’single personal’ event, four days after South African doctors raised concerns about the supermutant strain.

MSPs were told by the minister that each of nine people had been tested around November 23. Their samples were then analysed to determine if they could be used in the development of the new variant. All were based in the Glasgow, Clyde and Lanarkshire areas and had no travel connections.

The lack of links abroad has raised questions are being raised about whether the variant may have been imported into the country at the COP26 climate summit, which was held in Glasgow in the first fortnight of the month, or at the Scotland v South Africa rugby match at Murrayfield in Edinburgh on 13 November. 

Although Ms. Sturgeon couldn’t rule out the possibility, she claimed that the timings made it ‘improbable.

Omicron had been in circulation in Britain before travel restrictions were imposed on many African countries by the UK to try and reduce its spread. 

It comes as a further 10 cases of Omicron were found in the UK today, bringing the total number of known cases in Britain up to 32 though none have been serious enough to require hospitlisation. Official data today revealed that nine new Omicron cases were discovered in England, and one in Scotland.     


The country had 51,977 citizens who took the Covid test. 16.5 percent of those tested positive were confirmed to have the virus. For comparison, only 3.6% of the tests that were taken last Wednesday and 10.2% yesterday had been positive.

Last Wednesday, 1,275 people tested positive in South Africa — marking a 3.6 per cent positivity rate.

Yesterday, there were 4,373 confirmed infections, and 10.2% of the swabs tested positive.

The upward trend continued today, with 8,561 testing positive — increasing six-fold in a week and nearly doubling on yesterday’s number — equating to a positivity rate of 16.5 per cent.

Since the outbreak of the pandemic, South Africa has seen 2.9 million cases.

In the meantime, hospitalizations have increased by 26% in the past seven days. Last week saw an average of 146 individuals admitted daily, and an average of 184 Covid-infected people required hospital treatment in the first three working days. 

The number of Covid deaths has risen from 22 on Wednesday to 28 on today. This is a 27% increase.

Due to how long it takes for the virus to make you seriously ill, the trends in hospitalisations or deaths are often two to three week behind that of cases.

South African scientists warn that most people hospitalized with Omicron are not vaccinated.

Our World in Data reports that 23.8 Percent of South Africa’s population are double-jabbed. That compares with 67.9% of Britons and 58.1 percent for Americans.  

South Africa has a lower overall number of Covid cases per person than either the UK or US.  

And so far, only 172 Omicron cases have been confirmed in South Africa and doctors there maintain that patients with the new variant are presenting with milder symptoms than previous strains — even though daily cases have soared.

On Tuesday, the number rose to 4,373, with 10.2 percent of those who were swabbed positive.

The upward trend continued yesterday, with 8,561 testing positive — increasing six-fold in a week and nearly doubling on Tuesday’s number — equating to a positivity rate of 16.5 per cent. 

Professor von Gottberg stated that about 75% of sequenced samples are Omicron. However, she pointed out there was a delay due to the length of time required to sequence and collect positive test results.

And the number of positive samples sequenced — when scientists examine a positive sample in a laboratory to determine what Covid strain caused an infection — in South Africa in November equate to less than one per cent of positive cases for the month.

Scientists discovered bias in Omicron sample 1 last month. This was because scientists examined positive Omicron cases that they believed were new variants and not random samples of the population.  

Professor von Gottberg stated that it appears like Omicron is the dominant species in this country. Omicron was identified by sequencing in at most five provinces with sequencing data.

‘And we think the other provinces were just not identifying it yet, because we don’t have specimens that have been sequenced for those provinces.’

She also warned scientists about Omicron cases among those who had previously been positive for Covid.

South Africa has a testing database that matches positive PCR and antigen tests to people so it can count reinfections — which it defines as a positive test from an individual 90 days after they first test positive. 

Professor von Gottberg said: ‘We monitored these reinfections for the Beta and for the Delta waves and we didn’t see an increase in reinfection over and above what we expect when the force of infection changes, when the wave stops. 

“But, we are now seeing an increase in Omicron. And that sort of speaks to that fact in our population with a high seroprevalence — so where many people have that previous infection — we believe that that previous infection does not provide them protection from infection due to Omicron. 

Nitzan Hrotwitz, Israeli minister of health, stated yesterday that the variant was not yet confirmed. She also said that the existing vaccines would protect against the severe effects of the super-strain.

A report from an Israeli news channel claiming that Pfizer’s jab could prevent Omicron-related symptoms was published hours later. It is 90% effective, which is slightly lower than Delta. 

The Channel 12 news broadcast also claimed the super variant is just 30 per cent more infectious than Delta — much lower than initially feared.  

Comparatively, Delta is 70% more infective than Alpha, which it beat earlier in the year.