Barely demonized, would the Omicron variant finally be a “good thing” in the fight against the coronavirus? In any case, this is the question that Marc Van Ranst is asking following the many announcements around this variant of all dangers. In a tweet, the virulent virologist launches the reflection: “If the Omicron variant were less pathogenic, its greater infectivity (allowing Omicron to replace Delta) would be very positiveAnd to call for close monitoring of the clinical data of patients infected with the Omicron variant in South Africa and around the world.

Tom Wenseleers, professor of biostatistics at KULeuven, is more cautious. In his response to Van Ranst, he points out, with supporting graphics, that “In South Africa, 0.4% of the population has died from the virus, which, given the age pyramid, is what one would expect if everyone were infected. The advantage of Omicron therefore cannot be linked to higher infectivity (at least not to transmissibility) but to immune evasion (32 mutations in the spike protein). A growth rate advantage of 0.38 per day over Delta and a doubling time of around 4 days would indicate that Omicron is re-infecting previously infected people 6 times more frequently than Delta. While the severity of infections pierced by Omicron is still unclear, it seems unlikely to me that an immune escape variant will produce less severe infections.“.

And to conclude: “For unvaccinated / infected people, the severity will remain the same …

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