People who are not vaccinated and infected with the omicron variant of the coronavirus may be less susceptible to severe illness, hospitalizations and deaths than in cases with previous variants, a South African study concluded on Friday.
The study, conducted by the National Institute of Communicable Diseases (NICD) in the Western Cape region, has not yet been peer-reviewed, but compared about 11,600 patients from the first three waves of Covid-19 with about 5,100 from the first three waves of Covid-19. wave driven by the omicron that started in November.
Globally, the omicron tends to cause less severe disease, and proportionately fewer hospitalizations and deaths, than with previous variants.
Scientists are trying to determine to what extent this is due to the high rates of immunity induced by vaccination, or to previous infections, or whether the micron is, in fact, less harmful.
The study concluded that about a quarter of the reduced risk of severe illness with the micron is attributable to the characteristics of the virus itself.
“In the wave generated by the omicron, severe cases of covid-19 were reduced largely because of the protection afforded by previous infections and/or vaccination, but the intrinsically reduced virulence may represent approximately 25% of the reduced chances of serious hospitalization or death in compared to the delta”, the study pointed out.