Researchers are uncertain whether this observed drop in the rate of severe cases is due to the variant or because it clashes with more immune populations.
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A reason for hope? Two studies conducted in the United Kingdom and published Wednesday, December 22 show that infections with the Omicron variant are less likely to cause hospitalizations compared to the Delta variant. The first Scottish study, which looked at cases recorded in November and December and admitted to hospital, suggests that this mutation of the virus “is associated with a two-thirds reduction in the risk of hospitalization”.
It also shows that a booster dose offers substantial additional protection against symptomatic infection. “What we are saying is that this is good news with nuances because they are early observations, they are statistically significant and we show a reduced risk of hospitalizations.”said study co-author Jim McMenamin.
The second study, carried out by Imperial College London (in English), finds a reduction of 20 to 25% in any type of hospitalization for Omicron compared to Delta, and a reduction of 40 to 45% in hospitalizations for one night or more. “While the reduction in the risk of hospitalization with the Omicron variant is reassuring, the risk of infection remains extremely high”, warned Azra Ghani, who co-authored the English study.
“By adding the booster dose, vaccines continue to offer the best protection against infection and hospitalization.”Azra Ghani, co-author of the study
quoted by AFP
Neither study has yet been peer reviewed, but they add to a growing body of evidence about Omicron. It is not clear whether the decrease in the rate of severe cases observed with Omicron is due to the characteristics of the variant or if it appears less severe because it encounters populations with more immunity because of being vaccinated or having been ill with Covid. -19 in the past.
“This news does not take away from the extraordinary spread of this variant through the population, and the fact that even a small proportion of people in need of hospital care could turn into very large numbers if the rate of community spread continues to grow. to augment”, warned Penny Ward, professor of pharmaceutical medicine at King’s College London.