The Omicron variant is moving at a dizzying pace and health experts are constantly playing catch up. On GMB this morning, a panel of experts fielded questions from the general public to fill in some of the crucial gaps in knowledge. One viewer wrote in and asked: Can you have Omicron and Delta at the same time?
Maria Van Kherkhove, the COVID-19 Technical Lead at the World Health Organization took to Twitter to inform that Omicron is growing fast in countries where it has been detected while also stating that there will be more cases of the new variant with increased transmissibility.
“There are some early studies from the UK that have looked at secondary transmission. Looking at higher secondary transmission as compared to Delta but again it’s still early,” Ms Kherkove further added.
Further exploring the rate of transmissibility, Doctor Mike Ryan, the Executive Director of WHO’s health emergencies program, said that the transmissibility in Omicron is higher due to a change in the spike protein the protein that attaches to the human cell.
“The Omicron variant has a change in its genetic sequence that has changed the shape and the ability of the spike protein to enter human cells and that’s probably giving it its transmission advantage.”
By some estimates, the variant is up to 70 times more transmissible than the Delta variant.
A study found that the variant multiplies faster in the human bronchi but does not replicate that effect in the lung tissue which is why it does not cause the severity of the disease.
The study is however not peer-reviewed yet.
Published at Tue, 21 Dec 2021 09:44:00 +0000