Omicron on track to replace Delta soon: Dr Yong


The Covid-19 Omicron variant has now been found in more than 140 countries and will replace Delta soon, expert virologist Dr Yong Poovorawan noted on his Facebook page on Wednesday.

The Omicron variant, though easily transmissible, has a lower severity level than other variants, with the number of hospital admissions and deaths comparatively lower.

Yong said the efficiency of RT-PCR and ATK tests was the same. He explained that most RT-PCR tests use N and RdRp genes, which are stable. Meanwhile, the Rapid Diagnostic Test (RDT) finds nucleocapsids, which is more stable than finding a spike protein.

He said Omicron can slip past the immunity provided by vaccines, even AstraZeneca and mRNA vaccines. Its spike protein has changed so the vaccines’ efficiency decreases.

Its incubation period is also short, so high immunity is required at all times to protect against the variant. However, vaccinated patients will have fewer symptoms and could recover faster, he wrote.

Yong noted that every wave will affect people’s health and the economy, with the mental health effect being more important than the physical effect.

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He added that as news on social media travels quickly, facts can be turned into mostly biased opinions, so people should be able to distinguish between facts and mere opinions.