The Omicron variant is moving at a dizzying pace and health experts are constantly playing catch up. At this point, the most pressing worry is what makes a person more susceptible to infection.
According to a recent study, a weakened immune system, old age, and other comorbidities can all enhance the chance of co-infection with the Omicron and Delta strains of Covid-19 at the same time.
Scientists from the UK’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) told the media that some individuals have been infected by both the Delta and Omicron forms, which are “operating separately as two epidemics” at the same time and have made them extremely unwell.
According to Dr. Namita Jaggi, Chairperson of Labs and Infection control at Artemis Hospital, Gurugram, “Even though Covid infections normally only involve one mutant strain, in extremely rare cases, it is also possible that two strains strike at the same time.”
Technically, you could have Omicron and Delta at the same time, according to Epidemiology specialist Professor Irene Peterson, but it is unlikely.
Why? “It is likely that the Omicron will win because it doubles so much faster than the Delta.”
Prof. Peterson’s analysis is consistent with the views of other renowned specialists.
The World Health Organization’s COVID-19 Technical Lead, Maria Van Kherkhove, took to Twitter to say that Omicron is spreading quickly in countries where it has been identified, and that there will be more cases of the new variant with greater transmissibility.
“There are some early studies from the UK that have looked at secondary transmission. Looking at higher secondary transmission as compared to Delta but again it’s still early,” Ms Kherkove further said.
Doctor Mike Ryan, the Executive Director of WHO’s health emergency program, noted that the incidence of transmissibility in Omicron is higher due to a shift in the spike protein, the protein that connects to the human cell.
“The Omicron variant has a change in its genetic sequence that has changed the shape and the ability of the spike protein to enter human cells and that’s probably giving it its transmission advantage.”
The variant is estimated to be 70 times more transmissible than the Delta variant.
According to one study, the mutation multiplies quicker in human bronchi but does not reproduce that impact in lung tissue, which is why it does not exacerbate the disease’s severity.
However, the study has not yet been peer-reviewed.
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