It’s been less than a month since then OmicronThe latest variant of covid-19 concern was first discovered by South African scientists.In just a few weeks, Omicron probably almost reached All countries of the world And now Dominant variant In some countries, including the United Kingdom, Denmark, Norway and parts of southern Africa. There is no doubt that this rapid spread will soon replace Delta. Scientists at Imperial College London explained in two studies published on December 16th what this means for the world.
The first study summarizes data on the spread of Omicron in the United Kingdom. It turns out that each infection tends to produce at least three or more. This is similar to the rate at which covid spread in Europe in the first wave of a pandemic in early 2020, before vaccines became available or countermeasures were imposed. At this rate, cases are doubling every two days. This tendency becomes an almost vertical line as soon as the daily case is graphed.
Omicrons can spread rapidly in countries such as the United Kingdom, where nearly 70% of the population is vaccinated and millions are vaccinated, primarily from both vaccines and previous infections. Due to its extraordinary ability to avoid immunity. Researchers have found that a double course of Pfizer or AstraZeneca vaccine is at most 20% effective against infection by Omicron in the United Kingdom. Having a covid in the past was of little use and was given only 19% protection. This is far less than 85% of the Delta found in other studies.
Boosters, however, can be made Big difference.. A third jab using Pfizer’s vaccine after the first course of AstraZeneca or Pfizer jab was 55% to 80% effective against infection with Omicron.
These results provided the basis for a second study by the Imperial College team and colleagues from several other institutions. In that study, they estimated how the immune layers of different countries could tolerate Omicron from previous Covid Waves and vaccinations. The analysis relies on estimates of how well jabs are protected against severe illness and how protection from boosters diminishes over time. There is a lot of uncertainty associated with these estimates. This is because, at this time, it is derived from data on how antibody levels in the blood correlate with protection from covid. Data from actual Omicron cases in the hospital are much more reliable for this type of analysis, but will not be available for another week or so (because there are not enough patients yet).
Anyway, the level of immunity of the country’s population declines and flows over time. More jabs and infections will push it up. Debilitating protection, including protection from boosters, pushes it down. If antibody levels from the booster drop at the same or half the rate of the first course of vaccination, researchers found that after 60 days the booster was against severe covid (and hospitalization) of the Omicron wave. We believe it may be 80-86% effective. It’s encouragingly high, but less than 97% effective for Delta.
The researchers then used data on omicron infection rates and national immunological profiles to estimate the number of cases and hospitalizations in each country. You might expect When Omicron spreads. They conclude that Omicron is likely to expand hospitals in all countries, and peak deaths and hospitalizations are similar to the previous wave, if there are no restrictions to slow their spread. This conclusion is true even if the severity of the illness caused by Omicron is one-third that of Delta.
However, using boosters wisely can save lives and reduce pressure on the hospital. The model predicts the impact in three types of countries. In countries where infections have been widespread in the past and most people have already been vaccinated twice (such as in the United States and most of Western Europe), boosters over the age of 60 add up. The number of Covid deaths between 2021 and 2022 compared to the scenario without boosters, which could be reduced by 25%.
In countries where vaccine deployment was slow and past Covid Wave infection rates were high ( Africa), The effects of Omicron are mitigated by partial immunity evoked by recent delta waves. In such countries, it is more efficient to administer boosters to the elderly rather than to use boosters for the main course of vaccination of younger groups, leading to 5-15% less mortality overall.
The third set of countries “Zero Covid” Country The infection rate was kept low throughout the pandemic (including China, Australia and New Zealand). Vaccination rates are high, but booster use is not. These countries are facing difficult choices. Even if they open up after giving boosters to people over the age of 60, they will still have a major epidemic comparable to what has been experienced in other countries. However, it will take several months to delay the resumption until the booster is given to the entire population to create a strong layer of immunity-and by then the effectiveness of the booster has diminished in the highest risk group. Expected to give worse results.
These predictions may change in the coming weeks as the severity of covid cases from Omicron becomes apparent. If people limit their contact, it will flatten the curves of hospital cases and patients. But for now, in most countries where Omicron waves are imminent, difficult choices must be made.
What does the spread of Omicron mean for the world?
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