Omicron COVID Variant Multiplies 70 Times Quicker Than Delta

Omicron COVID Variant Multiplies 70 Times Quicker Than Delta

COVID Guidance System

By MedExpert COVID News | Dec 15, 2021


New research may help explain why the Omicron variant is more transmissible yet cases may be less severe than Delta variant cases. 

Results of a study led by researcher Dr Michael Chan Chi-wai, Associate Professor of School of Public Health and Principal Investigator, Centre for Immunology and Infection (C2i), Hong Kong Science and Technology Park (HKSTP), reported that Omicron infects and multiplies 70 times faster than the Delta variant in human bronchus, the two large tubes that carry air from the windpipes to the lungs, and the Omicron variant infection in the lung is 10 times slower than the Delta variant. This may explain why the transmission has been faster than the Delta variant and why the infection in the lung is slower than the Delta variant.

In today’s announcement, Chan states that by the mere fact of infecting more people, a very infectious virus may cause more severe disease and death even though the virus itself is less likely to cause disease. Coupled with recent reports that Omicron can infect those with two vaccines and past COVID infections, the “overall threat from Omicron is likely to be significant,” states Chan.

Reports of “breakthrough” infections are increasing. Typical symptoms include a scratchy throat, cough and the same spectrum of symptoms of the Delta variant. Experts advise to get tested for COVID as soon as possible to help differentiate COVID from a winter cold or flu. If COVID positive, guidance how to respond to a Omicron COVID infection also mirror existing standards. The CDC’s guidelines advise to isolate if you’ve either tested positive in the past 10 days or are experiencing symptoms, and end your isolation after 10 days only if you’ve gone 24 hours with no fever (without the use of Tylenol or other anti-fever drugs) and your other symptoms are improving—not counting the loss of taste and smell, which could take a couple of weeks to return.

Omicron has taken the world by storm. On November 24, 2021, a new variant of COVID-19, SARS-CoV-2, B.1.1.529, was reported to the World Health Organization. This new variant was first detected in specimens collected on November 11, 2021, in Botswana and on November 14, 2021 in South Africa. On December 1, 2021, the first US case was found; the second case confirmed by December 2, 2021 and now, 15 days later, almost all US states have reported cases of Omicron. Countries around the world are feeling its effect.