Totally different to Delta: Doctor shares the three specific symptoms of Omicron variant

Coronavirus: UK cases surpass ten million during pandemic

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Cases of the new Omicron variant are gathering steam in the UK and the UK Government has cranked up restrictions in response. Much is still to be established about the new variant, such as the extent to which the current vaccines offer protection, although initial signs are encouraging. The nature of the symptoms is still being established.

However, doctors treating patients are providing clues to its impact.

According to South Africa Doctor Angelique Coetzee, “It’s totally different from the Delta”.

Speaking to Global News on Tuesday, she said that these patients aren’t displaying the same loss of taste and smell, need for supplemental oxygen or elevated pulse rate that doctors noted with Delta patients.

“It’s very much like a cold or flu type of symptoms,” she said, adding that patients are reporting headaches and body aches, and a slight sore throat.

They don’t have a severe cough and they don’t have a running or blocked nose as you would see with an upper respiratory tract infection.”

The milder symptoms are consistent with early research, which suggests it could be less severe than the Delta strain.

Yesterday the World Health Organization said early data indicates the Omicron coronavirus variant may more easily reinfect people who have already had the virus or been vaccinated than previous variants, but could also cause milder disease.

“Emerging data from South Africa suggests increased risk of reinfection with Omicron,” WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told reporters on Wednesday, adding “there is also some evidence that Omicron causes milder disease than Delta”.

However, the Omicron variant may reduce some of the effective of the Pfizer vaccine.

Antibodies from the Pfizer vaccine may be up to 40 times less effective against Omicron than the original COVID strain, the first lab tests on the new variant in South Africa have shown.

The study findings were still encouraging, however.

The study found antibodies from people who had been vaccinated as well as naturally infected with Covid were significantly more effective against Omicron – suggesting boosters may bring a significant benefit.

Its ability to avoid the vaccine was between five and 10 times better than the Beta variant, which was also first reported in South Africa and previously had the best ability to evade the jab.

Study lead Professor Sigal believed it’s likely Omicron has both an immune escape and a transmission advantage over other variants.

No definitive conclusions can be drawn, however. The study was limited to live Omicron virus grown in the laboratory tested against blood samples from just 12 vaccinated people.

This means the jury is out on how effective vaccines will be against preventing infection, or onward transmission of Omicron in the real world.

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