As the Omicron variety spreads across South Africa and Europe, evidence is emerging that it can outcompete the highly transmissible Delta variant, which might be a warning sign for the US. Viruses behave differently in various regions, depending on the other varieties that are circulating and the immune landscape. However, Omicron is gaining traction in Europe, which has sometimes acted as a foreshadowing of what was to come in the United States. It is a warning indicator that the already dire situation might deteriorate worse.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has put to rest fears regarding the efficiency of current vaccinations against Omicron, a new variety of the coronavirus illness (Covid-19) reported to be more transmissible and capable of frequent changes, amid rising worldwide worries. On Tuesday, a top WHO official told the AFP news agency that there is no reason to believe that Omicron is more severe than previous strains or that existing vaccinations will fail to protect against it.
In an interview with AFP, Michael Ryan, the World Health Organization’s emergency director, said there is presently no evidence that Omicron, while more contagious, produces a more severe sickness than other Covid-19 variations like as Delta. According to him, current immunizations should prevent persons who catch Omicron from the disease’s worst effects.
“We have extremely efficient vaccinations that have proven successful against all variations so far in terms of severe illness and hospitalisation, and there is no reason to think it will not be the same [for Omicron],” a WHO official was reported as saying. Ryan, on the other hand, believes that additional research into the Omicron variety is needed in order to properly assess how dangerous it may be.
On Tuesday, US infectious diseases specialist Anthony Fauci repeated this confidence, saying that Omicron is “definitely not worse” than prior strains like Delta. According to the principal medical advisor to the United States president, Omicron is “certainly extremely transmissible,” although it may be less severe than Delta, as evidenced by the ratio of infections to hospitalizations in South Africa.
More epidemiological data from throughout the world, according to Fauci, is needed to confirm scientific consensus on this. He noted that the findings of lab trials testing the efficacy of antibodies from existing Omicron vaccinations should be available in the next few days to a week.
Meanwhile, South African researchers discovered that Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccine provided less protection against the Omicron variation than to other main viral variants. In an online presentation of the first known trials evaluating the efficiency of the vaccination against the new version, Alex Sigal, chief of research at the Africa Health Research Institute in Durban, said the loss of immune protection is “strong, but not total.”