This Article is From Dec 20, 2021

Omicron vs Delta: New Study Answers Questions On New Covid Variant

The new Covid variant Omicron has shown no sign of being milder than Delta, a recent study showed.

Omicron cases have been rising rapidly in Europe, UK and the US.

New Delhi:

How lethal is Omicron? Does it cause a severe disease? Will a third dose of vaccine give better immunity against Omicron?

Scientists are racing to find the answers to these questions as Omicron cases soar across Europe, UK and the US and threaten year-end festivities.

The new Covid variant Omicron has shown no sign of being milder than Delta, a recent study showed.

The new findings, by the Imperial College in London, are in stark contrast with some earlier studies which pointed towards Omicron being mild. The Imperial College study looked at growth, population distribution and immune escape of the variant in England.

Omicron vs natural immunity

The study shows that the risk of reinfection with Omicron is five times higher than it was with Delta. The protection afforded by a past Covid infection is as low as 19% against Omicron, the study shows.

Omicron vs two doses of vaccine

According to the study, Omicron has the capacity to elude protection from previous infection or inoculation. A two-dose vaccine gives 20% protection against Omicron, which is in line with natural immunity.

Omicron vs booster shot

A third dose increases the Covid vaccine's efficacy against Omicron to up to 55-80% in symptomatic cases, the study said, underlining the importance of booster shots.

The study involved AstraZeneca and Pfizer vaccines.

Omicron vs Delta: Severe infection

The study says that a comparison between the two COVID-19 variants is difficult to conclude. According to the study, there was no evidence of Omicron cases being less severe than Delta. The results were based on the proportion of people testing positive who had symptoms or went to the hospital. Just how severe Omicron cases will be remains unclear, adding it is too soon to say how hospitalisations will play out in the UK.

Imperial college study in conclusion

The Imperial College London team analyzed all the PCR tests of confirmed Covid cases in England between November 29 and December 11, making it one of the most expansive examinations yet on Omicron's potential to evade the body's defences.

The new findings could accelerate the imposition of tighter restrictions across a number of European countries in a bid to stem the new variant's spread.

Even though India is a very different demographic than the west, the Imperial College study findings have shown that Omicron could be a cause of concern in India as well.