Australia News Live Update: Morrison Says Christensen Should Retire ���quietly���; New Queensland Covid Cases Include First Reports Of Omicron

Earlier today Queensland health minister

Yvette D’Ath said the state had found two lineages of the Omicron Covid variant in returned travellers – both currently in hotel quarantine.

Infectious disease physician and microbiologist at the Australian National University

Peter Collignon said the two lineages are created by the Omicron variant having different genes.

“It is mainly at the moment an issue about the technicalities on how they are picked up,” he said.

“If the genes have been deleted, and there’s another lineage where the gene hasn’t been deleted, you may not think it is Omicron when in fact it is.”

While they may behave differently, there was no evidence yet that the vaccines wouldn’t work on both lineages, he said.

“We don’t have enough data for Omicron, let alone sublineages of it. It’s a technical issue about how you might classify it.”

Catherine Bennett, the chair of epidemiology at Deakin University, said it was important to understand that this “was not new” and that every variant had different genes.

“70% or so of Omicron variants don’t have the S-gene dropout. We have variation within strains,” Bennett said.

She said the S-gene “was interesting” because it could be picked up by the PCR test - which meant health authorities knew it was an Omicron case quicker.

“The pity is, we miss out on the PCR screening when it would have been nice to distinguish it,” she said.

“It just takes longer to do, instead of having a result in six hours, it means you have to wait the extra day.

“If they’re connected cases then we would expect it to be Omicron or Delta. It’s really about what happens on our borders, we should be treating everyone as if they have Omicron.”

Source : https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/live/2021/dec/08/australia-news-live-update-sydney-party-boat-covid-cases-likely-to-be-omicron-pfizer-enthusiastic-to-talk-to-australia?filterKeyEvents=false&page=with:block-61b012f28f0819fcb698a88e

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