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New Studies Find Omicron Is Less Deadly And Less Likely To Damage Lungs

Anish Vij

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New Studies Find Omicron Is Less Deadly And Less Likely To Damage Lungs

More evidence suggests that Omicron is a more infectious but less deadly disease in comparison with other Covid variants.

Six studies have found that Omicron is more likely to infect the throat than the lungs, which certainly was the case with Delta.

However, the findings are still preliminary and are yet to be conclusive, as reported by The Guardian.

Credit: Alamy
Credit: Alamy

Deenan Pillay, professor of virology at University College London explains: "The result of all the mutations that make Omicron different from previous variants is that it may have altered its ability to infect different sorts of cells.

"In essence, it looks to be more able to infect the upper respiratory tract – cells in the throat.

"So it would multiply in cells there more readily than in cells deep in the lung.

Prof James Stewart was part of the team from the University of Liverpool’s Molecular Virology Research Group that published a pre-print study on Boxing day.

He said that Omicron was a 'less severe disease' in mice.

Credit: Alamy
Credit: Alamy

The professor added: "It’s one piece of the jigsaw.

"The animal model does suggest that the disease is less severe than Delta and the original Wuhan virus.

"It seems to get cleared faster and the animals recovered more rapidly, and that ties in with clinical data coming through.

"The early indications are that it’s good news, but that’s not a signal to drop our guard, because if you’re clinically vulnerable, the consequences are still not great – there are deaths from Omicron.

"Not everyone can rip their masks off and party."

Credit: Alamy
Credit: Alamy

Last month, the University of Hong Kong showed findings backing up claims of less Omicron infection in the lungs.

Although, they found Omicron was able to evade vaccines but less able to enter lung cells.

Prof Lawrence Young, virologist at the University of Warwick, stressed that the study was still largely inconclusive.

He said: "This is a small study on acutely symptomatic, non-hospitalised patients.

"On the one hand it confirms previous studies indicating that salivary testing could be useful as a more easily performed sampling approach.

"I don’t think this study is significant enough to conclude anything about the behaviour of Omicron."

Featured Image Credit: Alamy

Topics: Coronavirus

Anish Vij
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