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The reason Omicron symptoms are less severe than other Covid variants

First identified in Botswana and South Africa, Omicron has now become the dominant strain of Covid in Scotland.

As soon as the variant was found, there were two key questions.

Is Omicron more infectious than earlier strains and will it cause more or less severe disease?

Experts have since found that the variant is in fact more transmissible as it has spread rapidly throughout the country and around the world.

During the festive period, Scotland recorded record-breaking coronavirus case numbers.

Over the past seven days, 106,107 cases have been reported, with 12,602 cases confirmed on Saturday.

However, the question of whether omicron has less harmful effects than previous variants – whether it is less “virulent” – is somewhat more complex - reports Hull Live.

Early results from South Africa (which are still awaiting review) suggested that patients with omicron were less likely to be admitted to hospital than before.

And research found that even when admitted, people were less likely to require oxygen, need mechanical ventilation, be admitted to intensive care or die.

But South Africa has a young population compared to much of the world. A relative lack of older, more vulnerable people catching the virus may have been masking the variant’s capabilities.

This meant that proof omicron would also cause milder illness in other countries was initially unclear.

However, information accrued over the past month has shown that South Africa’s experience isn’t an anomaly.

Data from most European countries, including the UK, supports the suggestion that omicron is generally causing less severe disease than previous variants.

This is most clearly seen in the recent trajectory of the epidemic in Britain.

Analysis by the UK Health Security

virus infection Immunic

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