A new Omicron strain of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus continues to spread rapidly around the world. In the United States, at least 25 states have recorded cases of infection. And, as predicted by health officials, the number of patients will increase sharply in the coming weeks. Scientists, meanwhile, are trying to find answers to questions about the transmissibility of Omicron, its dangers and its impact on the effectiveness of vaccines.
German specialists, in their turn, claim that after six months antibodies of those vaccinated with two Pfizer components, as well as two doses of Moderna vaccine or one dose of AstraZeneca and one Pfizer component, gave 0% neutralization of “omikron”. Three months after three shots of BNT162b2 (revaccination), the rate was 25%, versus 95% for Delta. However, the developers of the vaccine had slightly different results.
Patients mostly complained of fatigue, stuffy nose and cough, less often of nausea, diarrhea, shortness of breath, shortness of breath and anosmia (loss of smell) and agesia (loss of taste), already classic for coronavirus infection. Only one person required hospitalization; there were no fatalities.
The delta strain continues to dominate the world
The delta strain continues to dominate in the United States, as it does around the world. However, the rapid spread of omicron to South African countries and its “importation” to other states cannot but worry specialists. According to the CDC, although most cases of infection are mild, the new variant of the virus could increase morbidity and ultimately overwhelm health systems.
Finally, the situation with vaccines and how the Omicron strain circumvents antibodies (including those who have been outbreaks) is not entirely clear. According to reports published a few days ago by the laboratory of the African Institute for Health Sciences in Durban, South Africa, and the University Hospital Frankfurt in Germany, immunity of those vaccinated with the two components of BNT162b2 from Pfizer and BioNtech offers weaker protection against omicron when compared with the basic version. Thus, according to the first group of researchers, its neutralization by antibodies was 41 times worse.
According to a report from the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 34 of the 43 patients who were diagnosed with the omicron coronavirus strain were vaccinated against Covid-19, and a third of them – 14 people – were revaccinated (though five had their third vaccination just two weeks before the disease). This was reported by Reuters.
According to the latest data, cases of infection with new variant of SARS-CoV-2, first registered in South Africa in November, were registered in 25 states. The age of those infected ranged from 18 to 39 years old, and some of them were minors. U.S. doctors agree with South African doctors: Omicron – at least for now – does not cause a severe course of Covid-19.