Will the omicron Covid variant ruin Christmas? – .

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Will the omicron Covid variant ruin Christmas? – .


Critical care specialist Professor Rudo Mathivha painted a grim picture of the interior of Chris Hani Baragwanath Teaching Hospital in the vast township of Soweto on the outskirts of Johannesburg.

“A 15-year-old passed away this morning. This was a new admission to Covid-19 and developed pneumonia, ”Professor Mathivha told the Telegraph on Friday. “We shouldn’t be seeing these kinds of numbers so early in the wave.

“We shouldn’t see a young child with moderate to severe symptoms needing extra oxygen or intensive care intervention. This is what worries me. “

The alpha and delta variants were found to be more deadly than the original Wuhan virus. We will eventually find out if the same is true for the omicron, but it will take a lot more data and time.

The next big news around omicron will almost certainly focus on whether or not it is able to escape vaccine-induced antibodies in lab tests. Scientists have been working on it for over a week in laboratories around the world and we can expect first results very soon.

Initial headlines are unlikely to be good. Most experts believe the virus will be able to escape vaccine-induced antibodies in the lab. Indeed, the latest UK Health Security Agency risk assessment already places omicron in the red zone for “vaccine-acquired immunity”, albeit with a low level of confidence.

But as Dr. Muge Cevik, an infectious disease expert at the University of St Andrews, pointed out, laboratory tests are far from conclusive when it comes to human immunity. Omicron can escape antibodies in test tubes, but vaccine-induced T cells could still protect us.

” While [antibody] The studies are probably going to give worrying results, once we start to get real studies of how things go, I guess vaccines will still do a decent job of protecting people from disease, ”he said. she declared.

The UK is much better vaccinated than South Africa, where only 25% of the population is fully vaccinated.

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