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Canada now has five cases of Omicron variant

Quebec Health Minister Christian Dube also told reporters that 115 travelers coming from countries affected by the new variant, primarily South Africa, were called and asked to isolate and test for COVID-19.

November 30, 2021 / 07:21 AM IST
Authorities said they were keeping an eye on a new strain of the Delta variant of the virus which is also spreading in England, but believed existing vaccines could cope with it. (Image: Reuters)

Authorities said they were keeping an eye on a new strain of the Delta variant of the virus which is also spreading in England, but believed existing vaccines could cope with it. (Image: Reuters)

A further two cases of the Omicron coronavirus variant have been detected in Ottawa, bringing Canada’s total number of cases to five, Ottawa Public Health said late on Monday.

Earlier in the day, Quebec discovered its first COVID-19 case of the variant, health officials said.

Quebec Health Minister Christian Dube also told reporters that 115 travelers coming from countries affected by the new variant, primarily South Africa, were called and asked to isolate and test for COVID-19.

Quebec’s first case was a recent traveler to Nigeria, public health director Horacio Arruda said, similar to the two cases reported on Sunday by Ontario province.

The arrival of the new variant ahead of the Christmas holiday season comes as Quebec faces a recent increase in cases, mostly in the unvaccinated, Dube said. In the last 24 hours Quebec reported 756 new cases.

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COVID-19 Vaccine

Frequently Asked Questions

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How does a vaccine work?

A vaccine works by mimicking a natural infection. A vaccine not only induces immune response to protect people from any future COVID-19 infection, but also helps quickly build herd immunity to put an end to the pandemic. Herd immunity occurs when a sufficient percentage of a population becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely. The good news is that SARS-CoV-2 virus has been fairly stable, which increases the viability of a vaccine.

How many types of vaccines are there?

There are broadly four types of vaccine — one, a vaccine based on the whole virus (this could be either inactivated, or an attenuated [weakened] virus vaccine); two, a non-replicating viral vector vaccine that uses a benign virus as vector that carries the antigen of SARS-CoV; three, nucleic-acid vaccines that have genetic material like DNA and RNA of antigens like spike protein given to a person, helping human cells decode genetic material and produce the vaccine; and four, protein subunit vaccine wherein the recombinant proteins of SARS-COV-2 along with an adjuvant (booster) is given as a vaccine.

What does it take to develop a vaccine of this kind?

Vaccine development is a long, complex process. Unlike drugs that are given to people with a diseased, vaccines are given to healthy people and also vulnerable sections such as children, pregnant women and the elderly. So rigorous tests are compulsory. History says that the fastest time it took to develop a vaccine is five years, but it usually takes double or sometimes triple that time.

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Dube urged travelers to rethink holiday trips and warned against large celebrations. The province limits gatherings in private homes to 10 people.

"The next few weeks will be critical," Dube said.
Reuters
first published: Nov 30, 2021 07:22 am
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