WHO Warning: Omicron Variant Spreads 70-Times Faster Than Delta; But Severity Is Low
Until now, the transmissibility factor of the new variant of coronavirus, Omicron being high, was largely in circulation. However, a recent study has found out the reason behind the claims of the virus replicating faster than the Delta variant of the infection but less virulent.
Read the entire article to understand why the variant is a major threat.
Study Signifies Omicron Replicates Faster
According to a study conducted by the University of Hong Kong, Omicron replicates about 70 times faster than the delta variant or even the original Covid variant, in the human bronchus.
Researchers at the university found that while the frequency of replication was faster, over 70 times compared to delta variant or the normal Covid variant in a human lung tissue, the replication rate of Omicron in the said tissue was witnessed to be over 10 times lower than that of the original strain.
While the research is still under review for publication, the discovery could validate researchers’ and experts’ statements that the Omicron variant spreads faster but is not as virulent in nature as the delta variant.
According to the associate professor at the university’s school of public health, Michael Chan Chi-wai, the severity of a disease not only depends upon the replication rate of a virus but also largely upon how the immune system responds to the infection. The latter has led to the so-called cytokine storms among Covid patients, causing many deaths in the pandemic.
Additionally, the fact that Omicron infects more people because of high transmissibility, would lead to a very infectious virus to cause more severe disease and death even though the virus in itself may be less pathogenic, added Chan. He led the team that conducted the research.
“Taken together with our recent studies showing that the Omicron variant can partially escape immunity from vaccines and past infection, the overall threat from the Omicron variant is likely to be very significant,” added Chan.