Hong Kong: Transmission of Sars-CoV-2 Delta strain from hamsters to humans and onward human propagation of the adapted strain

Two separate transmission events from Syrian hamsters to humans are documented, one leading to onward household spread.

Over 50% of individually tested Syrian hamsters in the pet shop (8/16) and warehouse (7/12) were positive for SARS-CoV-2 infection in RT-PCR or serological tests....More...

Preprint: Evidence for a mouse origin of the Omicron variant

Pre-outbreak Omicron mutations in the spike protein significantly overlap with mutations in mouse-adapted SARS-CoV-2.

The molecular docking-based predictions suggested that the RBD of Omicron exhibited higher binding affinity for mouse ACE2 than that of RBD encoded in the reference SARS-CoV-2 genome, further suggesting an evolutionary history in mice (Fig....More...

Preprint: Omicron is the product of extensive evolution that has left no obvious traces of intermediate forms

The Omicron variant identified in Southern Africa in late November 2021 is the product of extensive evolution within an infection context that has so far left no obvious traces of intermediate forms since it diverged from the B.1.1 lineage (presumably at some time in mid to late 2020)....More...

UKHSA risk assessment for Omicron variant

UK risk assessment for Omicron variant B.1.1.529, dated 3rd December 2021

Transmissibility between humans: Amber – At least as transmissible as currently circulating variants

Omicron is transmitting rapidly and successfully....More...

Omicron variant: first European case of B.1.1.529 found in Belgium via Egypt and Turkey

A woman with coronavirus symptoms after a trip to Egypt with a stopover in Turkey is the first confirmed case in Belgium of a patient infected with the new variant B.1.1.529, known as ‘Omicron’, initially located by the scientific community in the Southern African countries....More...