New research shows that Omicron has about half the COVID risk as delta.

According to the first large-scale study on the long-term risks of omicron, it is less likely to cause COVID than delta.

NewsEditor
NewsEditor
22 June 2022 Wednesday 14:21
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New research shows that Omicron has about half the COVID risk as delta.

According to the first large-scale study on the long-term risks of omicron, it is less likely to cause COVID than delta.

The study revealed that almost 5% of those who get omicron still have symptoms such as fatigue, brain fog and headaches at least one month after being infected.

Some researchers found these results to be reassuring. Others find the findings alarming. Omicron is still a serious disease that can infect people worldwide.

"That's frightening," Dr. Akiko Iwasaki (an immunobiologist at Yale School of Medicine) says. She studies COVID for a long time but wasn't involved in the new research.

"People assume that omicron is milder than it actually is.

The Lancet published the findings on Thursday by researchers from King's College London. They have been following thousands of people who tested positive for coronavirus to determine the likelihood of long-term COVID from different variants.

"The fundamental question we are trying to answer is: "Is long COVID just as common in the delta period [as in the omicron]?" Claire Steves, Dr. Claire Steves was involved in the research. "What is the chance of getting long COVID given the different variants?"

Researchers compared 56,003 people who were ill with omicron between Dec. 20, 2021 and March 9, 2022 to 41,361 people who had been ill with delta between June 1, 2021 and Nov. 27, 2021. They also kept track of their symptoms via a special app.

Researchers found that people who had omicron were half as likely to have health problems one month later than those who had delta.

Steves said that the risk of getting long COVID with the omicron version is significantly lower than the delta variant. That's fantastic news, isn’t it?

This is especially important because omicron can be contagious and has spread to a large number of people very quickly. The risk of getting long COVID would have been much higher if it was the same as delta.

These findings are consistent with an earlier, smaller analysis by the British government.

However, a lower risk doesn't mean that people should not be concerned about long COVID due to omicron. Steves and other experts agree. According to the study, 4.4% of people can get long COVID from Omicron, while almost 10.8% are from Delta.

"The caveat is the fact that the omicron variant spread quickly through our population, so a much greater number of people have been affected. Steves states that the number of people likely to receive long COVID is expected to increase. "So we are not going to cut services for long COVID.

However, for each individual, the results do show that there is a lower chance of getting seriously ill or developing persistent symptoms.

The study didn't address the reason why omicron may be less likely to cause long-term COVID. Steves and others agree that omicron is less likely to cause persistent symptoms than delta, which makes it more plausible.

Steves explains that because the disease is less severe and it appears to be more superficial, it has a lower impact on our immune system. This is reducing the likelihood of COVID lasting a long time.

These findings should be supported by further research, according to other researchers.

"They looked at anyone who reported symptoms via this app. "They didn't evaluate these patients in any clinic or collect objective data," Dr. Michael Sneller, who studies COVID long-term at the National Institutes of Health, said.

Sneller said that he wouldn't be surprised if omicron causes less COVID, as it seems to cause less severe illnesses.

Researchers hope that the findings will change the perception that people shouldn't worry about COVID long term from omicron.

"We're saying that you can remove your masks from airplanes. To enter a restaurant, you don't have to be vaccinated. "All of these policy decisions will increase the chance that people get infected by COVID, even though there's still an 5% chance for severe chronic illness," Dr. David Putrino of Mount Sinai in New York City, who treats COVID long-term. "That's a shortsighted approach that will lead to a lot long-term disability that didn't need to be there.

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