Early South Africa data hints Omicron may cause less severe Covid, but more research needed – Boston, Massachusetts

Boston, Massachusetts 2021-12-04 19:40:02 –

NS■ The world is waiting for research to provide clear images of Omicron mutants. Early clinical data from South Africa suggest a virus that can cause less severe cases of Covid-19.

Posted by South African Medical Research Council Report Saturday of early experience at several hospitals in Gauteng where Omicron was first discovered in the country. Surprisingly, most inpatients who tested positive for Covid did not require oxygen supplementation. Few people developed Covid pneumonia. Few people needed a high degree of care. Also, few people were admitted to the intensive care unit.

Experts are careful not to over-read these early reports, which are based on a small number of patients. They suggest that it will take some time before the true profile of the Omicron mutant is focused. However, early discussions on previous concerns depended on trying to figure out whether they caused more serious illnesses, but in Omicron, whether it is associated with mild infections. Note that there are questions related to.


The report included an analysis of 42 Covid patients who were in the hospital on December 2, showing that most were actually hospitalized for other medical reasons. Their infection was detected only because the hospital was testing all visiting patients for Covid. Many had no respiratory symptoms. The average length of hospital stay was 2.8 days, much shorter than the average of 8.5 days recorded in the region over the last 18 months, the report said.

“The relatively low number of hospitalizations for Covid-19 pneumonia in the general, intensive care unit, and ICU wards constitutes a very different situation from the beginning of the previous wave,” said AIDS Director of SAMRC. A report written by Fareed Abdullah states. And tuberculosis research.


Michael Osterholm, director of the University of Minnesota’s Center for Infectious Disease Research Policy, told STAT that he was “really impressed with the relatively low number of serious illnesses so far seen in Omicron.” “The number of patients with serious illness seen in previous surges is only not seen, even if this quickly enters the surge.”

Ameshua Dalha, an expert on emerging infectious diseases and pandemics at the Johns Hopkins University Health and Security Center, said more data was needed, but the early signs were “very interesting.”

“This is part of the trend in case reports that the clinical spectrum appears to be milder, especially in vaccinated people,” he said.

Omicron variants are more contagious than past variants of the virus, and may even be highly contagious Delta variants. However, it is a risky business to draw conclusions at this point, as it has only been identified within the last two weeks and still accounts for only a small percentage of cases worldwide.

The SAMRC report focused primarily on the experience of the Steve Biko / Tswane District Hospital Complex in Pretoria, a region of Gauteng where Omicron was first seen to be widespread. The number of Covid cases in the Tshwane area has increased rapidly recently, with approximately 10,000 cases reported between November 29th and December 3rd. The South African National Institute of Infectious Diseases suggests that most recent cases of Tshwane are due to Omicron. In the variant, the hospital’s laboratory cannot confirm that it applies to all cases it has caught.

Of the 42 Covid patients admitted on December 2, 70% did not require oxygen supplementation. Thirteen people, including nine diagnosed with Covid pneumonia, needed oxygen. The remaining four patients were on oxygen therapy, but because of other illnesses. For example, two had received home oxygen therapy prior to infection.

Abdullah writes that this is not the way South Africa saw the beginnings of the three previous Covid waves that it had endured in the hospital. “The Covid ward was recognized by the vast majority of patients receiving some form of oxygenation, either by the constant sound of a high-flow nasal oxygen device or by a ventilator alarm.”

Other hospitals in Houten report similar statistics, the report said. At Helen Joseph Hospital on December 3, 31 (83%) of the 37 Covid patients did not require oxygen supplementation. At Dr. George Mukhari Academic Hospital, 65 (81%) of the 80 Covid patients did not require oxygen therapy. There was only one on the ventilator.

Another potentially positive signal related to the clinical status of vaccinated people. Of the Steve Biko / Tsuwane District Hospital Complex Covid patients on December 2, only 6 were vaccinated. Of the nine people who developed Covid pneumonia, eight were unvaccinated and one was a child.

“If the assumptions they provide (probably mostly Omicron) are correct, there are interesting observations that the data show a clear vaccination effect,” said Marion Coupmans, director of virology at the Erasmus Medical Center in Rotterdam. I am saying. The Netherlands said in an email.

The report itself suggests as well. It points out that 80% of people hospitalized with Covid in the last two weeks were under the age of 50. This was not the case with the previous three Covid waves in the country. “This could be an effect of vaccination, as 57% of people over the age of 50 are vaccinated in the state, compared to 34% in the group aged 18-49.” Is writing.

Koopmans agreed that most cases of Omicron so far seen in South Africa and elsewhere appear to be associated with mild illness, but as the virus moves to different demographic populations. She said it was premature to be convinced that the virus would continue. “We can only know it when we see it spreading to the age group,” she said.

It is also important for Osterholm et al. To watch how Omicron pays fares where delta variants are currently causing high levels of disease, as is the case in many parts of the United States and Europe today. Said that.

Peter Hotez, dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine, said he needed to see what illnesses Omicron could cause elsewhere before making any conclusions.

“Potentially, that means that Omicron is less severe,” he admitted. “But I think we have to be very careful about making decisive statements. For now, that’s the most interesting anecdote of all else. And as Omicron accelerates in the United States, it’s similar. You can see if it follows the pattern. “

Early South Africa data hints Omicron may cause less severe Covid, but more research needed Source link Early South Africa data hints Omicron may cause less severe Covid, but more research needed

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