Study: Omicron has less risk of Hospitalization


 South Africans infected with Covid-19 during the current fourth wave of infections are 80 percent less likely to be hospitalized if they have the omicron type, according to a report published by the National Institute for Communicable Diseases.

The risk of serious illness does not differ from other versions once admitted to the hospital, according to the authors, who were lead by scientists Nicole Walter and Cheryl Cohen.

In comparison to delta infections in South Africa between April and November, omicron infections are linked with a 70% reduced risk of serious illness, according to the researchers. The omicron data was gathered over the course of two months, from October to December.

After being discovered by South African researchers on November 25, the omicron variant has resulted in a surge in case numbers across the country. Over a seven-month period, Africa's most developed economy fully immunized around 44 percent of its adult population.

The scientists controlled for several confounding factors that may impact the results in the data that was presented to a preprint medical publication – MedRxiv – including age, gender, and whether the cases were known reinfections. They also controlled for the existence of other diseases and prior vaccination when determining the severity of sickness after admission.

The study also discovered that those who have omicron may have greater virus loads.

The study is "important," but its use of "historic controls" when compared to delta illnesses between April and November implies its findings may be skewed by temporal constraints, according to Paul Hunter, a professor of medicine at the University of East Anglia in the United Kingdom.

“So even though cases of omicron were less likely to end up in hospital than cases of delta, it is not possible to say whether this is due to inherent differences in virulence or whether this is due to higher population immunity in November compared to earlier in the year,” Hunter said. 


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