Medical Technology

South African Study Suggests Omicron Not as Severe for those who are not vaccinated.

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) People who have not been vaccinated against the Omicron variant of coronavirus might be less susceptible to serious illness and requiring hospital care or death as was the case for previous variants in a South African study showed.

The study was conducted by the National Institute of Communicable Diseases in the Western Cape region and published on the medRxiv site ahead of peer review. The study compared 11,600 patients from the three COVID-19 waves to the 5,100 Omicron-driven waves which began in November.

Omicron generally has been known to cause less severe illness, and proportionally fewer hospital admissions and deaths than previous variants.

Scientists are trying determine if this is due to increased immunity in the population , or an illness in the past or Omicron is intrinsically more nasty.

The study found that Omicron’s characteristics were responsible for around 25 percent of the risk of severe illness.

The study concluded that the risk of severe COVID-19-related outcomes in the Omicron-driven wave diminished primarily because of the protection conferred through prior infections and/or vaccines however, the intrinsically lower viral virulence may account to an approximate 25 percent lower risk of serious hospitalisations or even death than Delta.

A second study was written by a smaller group of authors. It looked at the “profile” and deaths in the same region. Researchers found that the Omicron wave was associated with fewer deaths due to COVID-19 pneumonia than prior waves.

SOURCE: and medRxiv, online January 12, 2022.

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