Top WHO and US scientists: Omicron does not look Worse than Current Variants

Health | December 8, 2021, Wednesday // 10:27|  views

The Omicron variant does not look worse than other variants of the coronavirus that have appeared so far, according to scientists from the World Health Organization and the United States, AFP reported. However, they warn that more research is needed to more accurately assess the severity of the disease it causes.

Although it is likely to be more easily transmitted than other variants, it is also "very unlikely" that Omicron will completely overcome vaccine protection, said Michael Ryan, who is №2 in the WHO hierarchy.

"Preliminary data do not show that it is tougher. In fact, if there is anything, the direction is towards less sharpness," he said in an interview with AFP, but stressed that more research is needed.

Ryan also said there were no indications that Omicron could overcome the protections provided by existing Covid-19 vaccines.

"We have highly effective vaccines that have proven themselves against all previous options in terms of the severity of diseases and hospitalizations. There is no reason to expect that this will not be the case with Omicron," he added, referring to initial data from the Republic of South Africa, where the option was first detected.

However, Ryan acknowledged that existing vaccines may be less effective against Omicron, which has more than 30 mutations in the spike protein on the surface of the coronavirus and allows it to penetrate cells.

Top American expert Anthony Fauci expressed a similar opinion, saying that Omicron does not look worse than previous versions, and initial observations show that it may be softer.

It is clear that it is highly prevalent, probably higher than Delta, the current dominant variant, Fauci said.

"But it is almost certain that it is not sharper than Delta," he added in an interview with AFP. "It can be assumed that it can be softer."

However, Fauci warned against jumping to conclusions, because Omicron's data so far are mainly from a young population that is less likely to be hospitalized. And it sometimes takes weeks before a serious illness develops.


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Tags: omicron, variant, covid, WHO, US


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