Fears of hyper-mutation due to “Omicron”

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Scientists and society continue to be wary of the “onslaught” of the Omicron mutation, as the information and conclusions reached so far can not lead to reliable predictions of its danger – or not.

It is noteworthy that Paul Burton, chief physician of Moderna, warned today that the large number of cases of the new variant “Omicron” in combination with the existing Delta increases the risk of a new super-variant. Such an eventuality, though rare, can occur when both executives infect someone at the same time, Burton told the Science and Technology Committee.

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“Certainly there is a chance,” said Moderna’s chief physician, adding that studies had been published in South Africa that said humans – and certainly immunocompromised humans – could harbor both viruses.

“This could happen in Britain as well, given the number of infections we have seen,” he said, adding that when asked if this could lead to a more dangerous variant, he said “it certainly could” …

It is worth noting, however, that similar fears were expressed a few months ago, when the Delta and Alpha strains were circulating at the same time, but the predictions for the creation of a new super mutation were not confirmed.

Worrying forecasts for Omicron’s invasion of Britain

At the same time, the forecast for the pandemic in Britain is worrying, while the new Omicron mutation is spreading rapidly. Downing Street has stepped up its arsenal with new measures, such as teleworking, expanding mask use and demonstrating a vaccination certificate, the government’s top health adviser estimates that infections could skyrocket to 1 million a day. until the end of December.

Dr. Susan Hopkins told the House of Commons that the new mutation was doubling every two or three days in the United Kingdom, but that the rate of increase in the number of mutations was rising even more recently, putting additional pressure on the UK health system.

Old Albion health officials say 59,610 new infections have been reported in the past 24 hours, the highest number since early January, as the country faces what Prime Minister Boris Johnson described as a “tsunami” of new variants.

The number of cases is the fifth highest recorded in the United Kingdom since the pandemic broke out in March 2020.

The data also show that 150 deaths of coronavirus-positive patients were recorded in the last 28 days.

The number of patients admitted to hospitals during the period 4-10 December was increased by 10%, compared to the previous week.

Boris Johnson’s staff has accelerated to build a strong wall against the Omicron mutation that tends to dominate the next store in Old Albion. With queues, following the British Prime Minister’s dramatic appeal for vaccines to create even a five-hour wait outside vaccination centers, the London Health Office has taken another step that will speed up the dosing process.

As decided, those taking a dose of Pfizer or Moderna will not have to wait 15 minutes at the center after the dose is injected.

The move is made to carry out more vaccinations per day and while experts estimate that those vaccinated with mRNA formulation do not run any risk after the dose.

According to the data analysis, the wait with the omission of a quarter is reduced in the vaccination centers by 23%.

The Omicron mutation has brought an air of concern to Britain. In the multifactorial equation of the pandemic, the new Omicron coefficient, which has been added, creates different conditions. Now, as it turns out, the double vaccination is not enough for the shield, so it is imperative to take a third dose.

For this reason, the British are rushing to the vaccination centers for the booster dose.

An alarm was sounded a few hours ago when the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Boris Johnson, announced the death of at least one of the Omicron executives.

At the same time, he noted, due to the new variant, the number of hospitalizations increased, while he stressed that “the best thing that the citizens have to do is the third installment”.

There is also good news … and it comes from South Africa

In contrast to all of the above, the findings of the first major study in South Africa on the Homicron mutation, which appears to cause milder disease in patients, are encouraging.

Experts who analyzed 78,000 cases with Omicron last month estimated that the risk of hospitalization was 1/5 lower than in Delta and 28% lower than the original virus.

In particular, Omicron currently leads to 30% lower hospital admissions than Delta, ie 38 admissions per 1,000 cases compared to 101 admissions per 1,000 cases.

The findings are close to the conclusion that the highly contagious variant is weaker than previous strains, a theory that doctors in South Africa have been advocating for weeks.

However, according to the South African Medical Research Council, which led the analysis, the reduced incidence of severe disease is probably not solely due to the milder variant. This is because 70% of South Africans have already recovered from coronavirus and 23% are fully vaccinated, which creates high levels of immunity.

The findings of the study, however, raise hopes that the wave generated by the new mutation will be less severe than the previous ones, although the number of hospitalizations is expected to increase in the near future.

The Pfizer vaccine is 70% effective

The study also found that two doses of the Pfizer vaccine were 70% effective in treating serious illness or death, compared with 93% in Delta. This leaves 30% unprotected, four times more than Delta.

South Africa has been facing the Omicron mutation for a month. Imports are growing at a rate of 141% compared to last week.

A total of 6,198 people are in hospital, compared to 5,562 who were hospitalized on Sunday, which is considered the largest daily increase since the appearance of the variant. However, despite the increased cases and hospitalizations, there are only 11 deaths due to coronavirus in the last 24 hours, marking a marginal increase compared to the previous week.

Milder symptoms and faster discharges

At the same time, South African doctors claim that patients with Omicron go with milder symptoms and are discharged faster. The study was also approved by a doctor in South Africa who sounded the first alarm about the new mutation. In particular, he told lawmakers that what doctors see in hospitals has been confirmed.

The head of the South African Medical Association, Dr. Angelique Coetzee told members of the parliamentary Science and Technology Committee that “we do not have all the answers”, but the clinical picture so far shows that patients are experiencing milder symptoms with Omicron, especially those who have been vaccinated. In hospitals, 88% -90% of patients treated are unvaccinated. However, it is difficult to determine which patients in the hospitals have Omicron or Delta. It is important that ICUs do not face enormous pressure.

However, experts point out that despite the data, uncertainties about the new mutation remain, in a significant number of issues and await new data for the evaluation of the variant.

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