Milder Omicrons, Better Vaccine Avoidance: Data

Editor’s note: The video above talks about a report from the Cleveland Clinic that the omicron variant was found in Cleveland.

JOHANNESBURG (AP) – The omicron variant appears to cause less serious illness than previous versions of Coronavirus, and the Pfizer vaccine appears to offer less protection against infection from it but still provides good protection from hospitalization, according to an analysis of data from South Africa, where the new variant is driving the increase in infections.

Although the findings are preliminary and have not been peer-reviewed – the gold standard in scientific research – they are consistent with other early data on omicron behavior, including that it appears transmitted more easily.

According to analysis done by Discovery Health, South Africa and South Africa’s largest private health insurer, the two-dose Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine was given by the African Medical Research Council.

The data were collected between 15 November and 7 December, where omicrons were first detected by scientists in South Africa and Botswana, and are subject to change over time. Experts now say that omicrons account for more than 90% of all new infections in South Africa, said Discovery Health chief executive Dr Ryan Noach.

The country is experiencing a rapid spread of the virus – concentrated in the most populous province, Gauteng. According to Johns Hopkins University data, the seven-day average of daily new cases in South Africa rose from 8.07 new cases per 100,000 people on November 29 to 34.37 new cases. per 100,000 people on December 13. The mortality rate did not increase during the same period.

“The omicron-driven fourth wave has a significantly steeper new infection trajectory than previous waves. National data show an exponential increase in both new infections and test positivity during the first three weeks of this wave, suggesting a highly transmissible variant with transmission. spread quickly in the community,” says Noach.

Although the number of cases is increasing, hospitalizations are not increasing at the same rate, leading the scientists to report that the risk of hospitalization for omicrons is lower than for delta or earlier variants. Hospitalization for adults diagnosed with COVID-19 29% lower than the one experienced by South Africa in mid-2020, after adjusting for vaccination status, according to the analysis.

Results showed that people who received two doses of the Pfizer vaccine had 33% protection against infection during the first weeks of the current wave of omicrons in South Africa. That’s a significant drop from the 80% protection against infection in the previous period.

The researchers say it’s encouraging that the study shows that people who are fully immunized with Pfizer are 70 percent more resistant to hospitalization during omicron elevation. This is still down from the 93% protection seen in the South African delta-driven wave.

The study showed significant protection against hospitalization even in the older age groups, with 67% in those aged 60 to 69 and 60% in those aged 70 to 79.

Analysis based on testing more than 211,000 active people COVID-19 test results, 41% of which were in adults who had received two doses of Pfizer vaccine. About 78,000 positive results are attributed to an omicron infection.

The analysis in South Africa supports an earlier assessment by UK authorities.

The UK Health Security Agency said on Friday that new data from the UK confirms that omicrons are more transmissible than other variants. Other studies suggest that both AstraZeneca and Pfizer vaccines are less effective at preventing symptomatic infections in people exposed to omicrons, although preliminary data suggest effectiveness appears to increase from 70% to 75% after third booster dose.

Research also shows that omicrons have a higher risk of reinfection. For individuals who have previously COVID-19, the risk of omicron reinfection was significantly higher than in previous variants. Milder Omicrons, Better Vaccine Avoidance: Data


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