“No Evidence” Omicron Is Softer Than Delta, Research Says

British researchers say they have found no “evidence” that the Omicron variant of COVID-19 is lighter than the Delta variant, calling into question the cautious optimism of some experts that the new strain may not be as virulent and may not overwhelm healthcare systems.

The study by Imperial College London (ICL) on Friday, released just as British officials reported record cases of COVID-19 for the third day in a row, rising to 93,045 new infections, also found that the risk of reinfection with Omicron is more than five times larger than Delta.

The non-peer-reviewed investigation was based on data from the UK Health Security Agency and the National Health Service on people who tested positive for COVID-19 in a PCR test in England between 29 November and 11 November. December.

What did the research say about the Omicron variant?

“There is no evidence” that Omicron is smoother than Delta, research notes.

“We found no evidence (both for the risk of attending hospitalization and the status of symptoms) that the Omicron variant has a different severity than Delta,” the study said, although it added that data on hospitalizations remain very limited. .

“By controlling for vaccine status, age, sex, ethnicity, asymptomatic status, region, and sample date, Omicron was associated with a 5.4-fold increased risk of reinfection compared to Delta,” added the study, which was conducted on Dec. 16.

Is the Omicron variant less severe than the previous ones?

“There is no evidence” that Omicron is smoother than Delta, research notes.

In South Africa, whose scientists were the first to identify Omicron last month, early anecdotal accounts have suggested that the new variant is causing less serious disease than previous ones, but scientists say it is too early to draw firm conclusions.

“We think it might not necessarily just be that Omicron is less virulent, but … the vaccination coverage [y]… the natural immunity of people who have already had contact with the virus also adds to the protection, ”Health Minister Joe Phaahla told a news conference on Friday.

“That is why we are seeing mild illness,” he added. However, ICL said in a statement that the protection provided by past infections against reinfection with the Omicron variant it can be as low as 19 percent, according to their research.

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