Omicron “almost certainly no more serious” than the Delta variant


US scientist Anthony Fauci said on Tuesday that while it would take weeks to judge the severity of the new variant of Covid-19 Omicron, early indications suggested it was no worse than previous strains, and may -be softer.

Speaking to AFP, Chief Medical Advisor to President Joe Biden divided knowledge and unknowns about Omicron into three main areas: transmissibility, how it evades immunity to infections, and previous vaccines , and the severity of the disease.

The new variant is “clearly highly transmissible,” most likely more than Delta, the current global dominant strain, Fauci said.

Accumulating epidemiological data from around the world also indicates that re-infections are higher with Omicron.

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Fauci, the longtime director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), said the results of lab experiments that tested the potency of the antibodies of current vaccines against Omicron are expected to arrive in “a few days. to a week “.

On the issue of severity, “it’s almost certainly no more serious than Delta,” Fauci said.

“Some suggest it might even be less serious, because when you look at some of the cohorts tracked in South Africa, the ratio of number of infections to number of hospitalizations appears to be lower than Delta’s. “

Always waiting for more dataBut he added that it was important not to overinterpret this data because the populations being tracked were skewed and were less likely to be hospitalized.

“I think it’s going to take a few more weeks at least in South Africa,” where the variant was first reported in November, he said.

“As we get more infections in the rest of the world, it may take longer to see what the level of severity is.”

Fauci said a more transmissible virus that doesn’t cause more serious illness and lead to increased hospitalizations and deaths was the “best case scenario.”

“The worst case is that it’s not only highly transmissible, but also causes serious illness, and then you have another wave of infections that aren’t necessarily blunted by the vaccine or by people’s previous infections. “, he added.

“I don’t think the worst-case scenario will happen, but you never know.”



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