KABUL (Pajhwok): Medical experts and doctors at Covid-19 treatment hospitals say they lack diagnostic kits for the new variant (Omicron) of coronavirus as they have observed its symptoms in patients.
Before omicron, alpha, beta, gamma, and delta were major variants first identified in the UK, South Africa, Brazil and India respectively.
Dr. Baz Mohammad Sherzad, a former adviser at the Public Health Ministry, told Pajhwok Afghan News that deformity is one of the normal features of the virus, including a fifth deformed or mutated form.
He said the new type of virus (omicron) spread faster than its previous forms, especially the delta type.
He added that besides all signs and symptoms of coronavirus, more fatigue, boredom, night sweats, itchy skin and lethargy and dry throat are prevalent in this variant.
Referring to the spread of “omicrons” in neighboring countries, including Pakistan and Iran, he said due to the return of thousands of Afghans from neighboring countries, the virus might come to Afghanistan.
Shirzad added: “But as in the past, due to lack of detection facilities for this virus, we do not have accurate figures to establish Omicron.”
Referring to prevention of omicron, he said the same guidelines as before such as using mask, washing hands and social distance should be followed.
He called on the Ministry of Public Health to provide diagnostic kits, oxygen, medical devices and equipment for the treatment of serious cases in cooperation with the international community.
Meanwhile, Dr. Naeemullah Waziri, one of the emergency department (ICU) doctors at the Afghan-Japan Hospital, said that patients with omicron disease were not in critical condition and the level of death was lower from this type compared to the previous one.
“We have patients who have omicron symptoms,” he said. “But due to the impossibility of diagnosis, we do not have exact figures.”
He called the lack of diagnostic facilities for omicrons a concern because he believes the new variant is spreading fast.
Abdul Bari Omar, Deputy Minister of Public Procurement and Health Services, recently announced at a press conference in Kabul the existence of 26 test laboratories in different provinces.
These laboratories have the ability to detect different types of coronas, he had said.
But due to the lack of omicron identification kits, it is not known how many people are infected with the variant.
Omar was also concerned about the lack of adequate facilities for corona treatment and diagnosis and called on the international community to continue their assistance in the field of health.