Studies: Omicron is less severe as it mostly avoids attacking the lungs

A number of recently published studies showed that the Omicron variant may be less severe than other coronavirus strains due to the way it attacks the lungs, according to Friday reports.

Studies in mice and hamsters showed that Omicron produced less harmful infections in the lungs and was instead confined to the nose, throat and trachea, The New York Times reported.

Previous variants would cause scarring of the lungs and severe difficulty breathing.

“It is fair to say that the idea of ​​a disease that primarily manifests in the upper respiratory tract is emerging,” said Roland Eils, a computational biologist at the Berlin Institute of Health, who has studied how coronavirus infects the respiratory tract.

Ravindra Gupta, a leading variant researcher at Cambridge University and author of one of the studies, told Insider that Omicron “actually does its own thing in many ways. The biology of the virus is not the same as it was before. It’s almost something new . ”

One of the studies showed that the Omicron levels in the lungs were one tenth or less of the level of other variants.

Several experiments published in recent days all pointed to the conclusion that Omicron is milder than Delta and other earlier versions of the virus, in line with real-world data.

The studies were published online in preprint form, meaning they have not yet been reviewed by other scientists and have been published in scientific journals.

Researchers at the Africa Health Research Institute in Durban, South Africa, working on the omicron variant of the COVID-19 virus, December 15, 2021 (AP Photo / Jerome Delay)

Omicron was first identified in South Africa and Botswana in late November. It quickly became the dominant tribe in South Africa, causing an explosion of infections with a peak of about 26,000 daily cases recorded in mid-December, according to official statistics.

The variant is currently present in more than 100 countries, according to the World Health Organization, and affects vaccinated people as well as those who have already had coronavirus.

Many studies suggest that Omicron, now the dominant strain in some countries, has a reduced risk of being admitted, but the WHO still called for caution.

“The overall risk associated with the new variant of concern Omicron remains very high,” the UN health agency said.

You’re serious. We appreciate that!

That’s why we come to work every day – to give discerning readers like you must-read coverage of Israel and the Jewish world.

So now we have a request. Unlike other news media, we have not created a payment wall. But since the journalism we do is expensive, we invite readers for whom The Times of Israel has become important to help support our work by joining The Times of Israel Community.

For as little as $ 6 a month, you can help support our quality journalism while enjoying The Times of Israel AD-FRI, as well as access to exclusive content available only to members of the Times of Israel Community.

Join our community Join our community Are you already a member? Log in to stop seeing this

Give a Comment