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Doctor that discovered Omicron COVID-19 variant says symptoms were mild in patients

A South African doctor who announced the discovery of the Omicron variant has said only mild symptoms are being noticed so far.

The virus was originally called B.1.1.529 before being labeled as Omicron. It’s discovery was announced over the holiday weekend.

This variant reportedly has at least 30 genetic mutations in its spike protein.

Related: Where COVID-19 variant Omicron has been spotted, and which travel bans are in place


After labeling it a variant of concern, the World Health Organization gave it a Greek letter: Omicron.

One doctor, Dr. Angelique Coetzee, chairwoman of the South African Medical Association, said patients with this strain presented unusual symptoms for COVID-19.

She described the first patient as a 33-year-old male who presented as extremely tired, with body aches, a headache, and a scratchy throat.

Related: Americans call for another stimulus check as the concern grows for Omicron COVID-19 variant


He did not show a cough or loss of taste and smell. These are majorly common symptoms for COVID-19.

Coetzee added that these are all mild symptoms and nobody with this strain has been admitted to the hospital.

Dr. Francis Collins, the director for the National Institutes of Health, told CNN there isn’t a reason to believe it’s worse yet. She added that South Africa is reporting cases are milder and mostly in young people.



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