The Omicron variant of the coronavirus responsible for Covid-19 disease appears to be more prevalent than the Delta variant, causing less severe symptoms and making vaccines less effective, the World Health Organization said today, stressing that data remain very fragmented.
Omicron is now present in 63 countries, the agency explained in a technical project report, which confirms the statements of its officials in recent days.
According to the WHO, Omicron appears to be transmitted faster than the Delta variant, which is still temporarily responsible for most infections in the world. This faster transmission was observed not only in South Africa, where the Delta was less prevalent, but also in the United Kingdom, where this variant is predominant.
The WHO does not know for the time being – in the absence of sufficient data – whether this increased rate of transmission in highly immune populations occurs because Omicron actually “escapes immunity, benefits from an inherently higher transmissibility or is it a combination of the two”.
The agency predicts, however, that “it is possible that Omicron will overtake the Delta in places where there is transmission to the community.”
The data are not yet sufficient to determine the severity of the disease caused by Omicron, even if for a while the symptoms seem “mild to moderate” in both the southern part of Africa where it was found and in Europe.
With regard to vaccines against Covid, the small amount of data available and the genetic profile of Omron allow the hypothesis of “a reduction in effectiveness” in terms of protection against “infection and transmission” to be made. “.
For their part, Pfizer and BioNTech Labs – which produced the Cominarty vaccine, one of the most effective against Covid to date – confirmed late last week that it was “still effective” after three doses of Omicron .
The countries that have the means are already urging the majority of the population to take a commemorative dose. This is especially the case in Europe, which is facing a new wave of infections caused by Delta, due to the early abandonment of health restrictions and sometimes insufficient vaccination rates.
Source From: Capital