Experts rule out Omicron mutated in Jordan

(Photo: Ameer Khalifeh/Jordan news)
AMMAN — Former minister of health Walid Maani has staunchly ruled out the idea that the Omicron variant mutated in Jordan, fervently claiming that such a notion is almost “a scientific impossibility”.اضافة اعلان

He told Jordan News that “the Omicron variant has 32 mutations in the spike protein, in addition to some 10 other mutations in the receptor binding domain. So, it’s impossible that a virus in a patient in Jordan mutated to produce the exact same mutations as the one in South Africa”.

Spokesperson for the National Epidemiological Committee Muhannad Nsour confidently agreed with Maani’s assertions. “I agree with Dr Maani’s viewpoint. This is almost impossible. Just imagine the variant mutating nearly 37 times, the same way it did in South Africa. This is very rare.”

Nsour explained that it would be understandable had the virus mutated one or twice, but the high number of mutations of the Omicron variant makes it highly unlikely that it mutated in Jordan. “This is why we really need to investigate further into this matter, especially through contact tracing, to gain more clarity on the true source of the infection.”

Nsour alluded to a recent study by the UK Health Security Agency, published on Saturday, which stressed that the first two doses of the vaccine are most likely not going to be enough to effectively combat Omicron. Experts are claiming that the third dose will be needed, as with that third dose, the efficiency of the vaccines will reach 70–75 percent.

Jordan is collectively moving towards the trajectory of modifying the meaning of “fully vaccinated” to mean having taken three vaccine doses, instead of two doses, Nsour noted. “It’s very important that we encourage people to take the third dose. Nearly 35–40 percent of people in Jordan still have not taken even the first dose, so we still have some work to do.”

A member of the National Epidemiological Committee who declined to be named assured Jordan News that the claims about Omicron mutating in Jordan have absolutely not been made by the committee, despite the circulation of some false reports stating this.

Secretary-General of the Ministry of Health for Epidemiological Affairs Raed Shboul publically stated that there is “currently no intention to announce any form of lockdown” in upcoming weeks.

The Health Ministry statistics reveal that, since the beginning of the pandemic, the average age of deaths related to COVID-19 in Jordan is between 60 and 71 years old.

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