According to the analysis of data from South Africa, the omicron variant seems to be lighter than the previous version of the coronavirus. The Pfizer vaccine seems to have a weaker defense against infection, but it can still prevent hospitalization well. Is driving a surge in infections.
Although these findings are preliminary and have not been peer-reviewed-the gold standard of scientific research-they are consistent with other early data on omicron’s behavior, including that it seems to be more easily disseminated.
According to the analysis conducted by Discovery Health, South Africa’s largest private health insurance company, and the Southern Region, in the current wave of omicron in South Africa, two doses of Pfizer/BioNTech vaccines seem to provide only 33% protection against infection, but 70% for hospitalization. Protect. African Medical Research Council.
The data was collected from November 15 to December 7. During this period, omicron was first discovered by scientists in South Africa and Botswana, and may change over time. According to Discovery Health CEO Dr. Ryan Noach, experts now say that omicron accounts for more than 90% of all new infections in South Africa.
The country is experiencing rapid spread of the virus-concentrated in its most populous province, Gauteng. According to data from Johns Hopkins University, the 7-day rolling average of daily new cases in South Africa in the past two weeks has risen from 8.07 new cases per 100,000 on November 29 to every 100,000 on December 13. There are 34.37 new cases. The mortality rate did not increase during the same period.
“Compared with the previous wave, the trajectory of the fourth wave of new infections driven by omicron is significantly steeper. National data shows that in the first three weeks of this wave, both new infections and test positive rates have increased exponentially, indicating a Community transmission of highly spread variant infections,” Noch said.
Although the number of cases is increasing, the number of hospitalizations has not increased at the same rate, which has led scientists to report that omicron has a lower hospitalization risk than delta or earlier variants. The analysis shows that compared with the wave that South Africa experienced in mid-2020, after adjusting the vaccination status, the hospitalization rate of adults diagnosed with COVID-19 has decreased by 29%.
The results showed that in the first few weeks of the current wave of omicron in South Africa, people who received two doses of Pfizer vaccine had a 33% protection against infection. This is a significant drop from the 80% infection protection provided earlier.
The researchers said that it is encouraging that the study showed that during the surge in omicron, people who were fully vaccinated with Pfizer had a protection rate of 70% against hospitalization. This is still lower than the 93% protection in the South African Delta Drive Wave.
Studies have shown that even in older people, it can effectively prevent admission, 67% of people 60 to 69 years old, and 60% of people 70 to 79 years old.
The analysis is based on an examination of more than 211,000 positive test results for COVID-19, 41% of which were for adults who had received two doses of Pfizer vaccine. Approximately 78,000 positive results were attributed to omicron infection.
South Africa’s analysis supports the earlier assessment of the British authorities.
The UK Health Security Agency said on Friday that new data from the UK confirms that omicron is more easily spread than other variants. Other studies have shown that AstraZeneca and Pfizer vaccines are less effective in preventing symptomatic infections in people exposed to omicron, but preliminary data shows that after the third booster dose, the effectiveness seems to increase by 70% to 75%.
The study also found that omicron brings a higher risk of reinfection. For individuals who have previously been infected with COVID-19, the risk of re-infection with omicron is significantly higher than the risk of early variants.