Expert virologist offers some answers on Omicron
In a Facebook post on Tuesday, expert virologist Dr Yong Poovorawan answered some key questions about the Omicron Covid-19 variant.
He said Omicron has mutated far more than other variants of the virus, and the key questions that require answers are:
• Is Omicron more infectious?
After Omicron was detected in South Africa late last month, it has spread to almost 50 countries, including Thailand. This proves that Omicron is twice as infectious as the Delta variant and will replace it in the future.
• Can Omicron skip the immunity provided by a previous infection or vaccine?
Some Omicron patients were fully vaccinated or had recovered from a Covid-19 infection. Obviously, they are not immune to Omicron, but since most of them developed little or no symptoms, the vaccines are clearly very effective at protecting against severe symptoms or death.
• How severe is the Omicron variant?
More than 1,000 patients outside Africa have developed little or no symptoms. In Africa, almost half of the patients showed no symptoms, while the rest showed few symptoms. However, this is just the beginning phase of the variant, so symptoms may worsen in the future. Though it will take two weeks before things become clearer, the likelihood is that this variant will cause less severe symptoms.
In summary, Yong said though this disease is highly transmissible, and may partially skip immunity, people who have been double jabbed or previously infected may develop few or no symptoms.
He said this virus will eventually develop into a seasonal respiratory disease and only affect those with little or no immunity.