August 11, 2022

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The most important questions and answers about the Omikron variant

It will take some time for Omikron to replace the delta variant that dominates Germany. We clarify how contagious the new mutant is and how well the current vaccines protect it.

The new corona variant, Omigron, has been circulating around the world for almost six weeks. In the first countries, the mutant has already caused a surge in the number of cases, and in Germany it may soon become a major variant. But what does that mean? Is Omikron really more infectious than previous versions? More dangerous? Or can the outcome of the infection be announced by Omigron? The most important questions and answers at a glance.

How widespread is Omigron already?

The new corona variant, called Omigron, was first reported from South Africa on November 25 and has since spread around the world. Omigron cases have already been diagnosed in more than 80 countries, including Germany. In some, such as Great Britain, France or Denmark, diversity already dominates.

In this country, experts expect a sharp increase in cases by the end of January. But it is already clear: Omikron is spreading fast. Calendar Week 51 (until December 26, 2021) According to the current RKI Weekly Report, 17.5 percent of the corona sources examined for variations were due to Omikron. A week ago, the value was given 3.1 percent.

How contagious is the variant?

“Omikron is highly transferable and undermines existing immune defenses,” the German government’s Corona Expert Council said in a report from mid-December 2021. Therefore, both vaccinated and recovered individuals are heavily involved in the infectious process. In Germany, infections of the Omigran variant are expected to double every two to four days. This can lead to an “explosive spread”.

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The Robert Koch Institute (RKI) tightened its risk assessment at the end of December 2021. The RKI estimates that those who have been vaccinated twice and those who have recovered are at higher risk of infection. For those who are not vaccinated, the risk is much higher. The Commission classified those who had been vaccinated three times as moderately at risk of infection.

So it is certain that the Omigron variant is more contagious than the Delta. Model Thorsten Lehr Explained in the D-Online interview, The reproductive value, i.e. the number of victims per victim, is significantly higher with Omikron. He considers a factor between six and twelve. The value of R for delta, on the other hand, is between five and six.

What are the symptoms of Omigran?

Preliminary studies from South Africa and Great Britain suggest that Omigran induces some other symptoms than previously known mutants. Corona virus. Accordingly, the victims are said to have complained of severe fatigue and headaches and body aches above all else. In addition, there is often a runny nose, sneezing and sore throat.

It is noteworthy that cough, which was prevalent at the onset of corona infection, was not one of the five most common symptoms of omigran. The fever or the disappearance of the smell or taste – which often occurs in other types – is said to have been present in some of the victims.

However, there is another possible indicator of Omigran infection: Severe night sweats. According to British doctors, the victims complained of having night sweats. These are so serious, you have to change them later. Corona symptoms will be explored further in the coming weeks.

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Vaccine against Govit-19: Not all vaccines provide effective protection against Omigran. (Source: Future Image / Imego Images)

What is the risk of becoming seriously ill?

So far, it seems that the Omikron variant leads to easier courses than previous corona types. This was initially shown in the first cases in South Africa – however, the victims there were mostly young and not previously ill, which may be a possible explanation. But Berlin virologist Christian Troston said he thinks mild disease studies with the new corona variant are “very possible” and that there is more data on this. Fewer than every 1,000 infections had to be treated in hospital. This was finally confirmed by pre-Christmas early studies.

Another explanation by similar structured animal studies and studies on human tissue was provided by various researchers in late December. Thus, the protein in the lung cells will ensure that Omigran does not overwhelm or affect the lungs. Many severe cases of previous variants develop from pneumonia.

Which vaccine works best against Omigran?

Various studies now show that Omikron can find ways to avoid vaccines – but some vaccines and their combinations may still be effective. As some studies show, stimulant vaccination is very important Omigron will counteract the previous full vaccine with two vaccine doses. The situation is similar with antibodies formed after infection. Booster vaccines, on the other hand, offer some protection.

The vaccine report from Great Britain recently shows how well booster vaccines protect against Omikron. Anyone who is first vaccinated with the AstraZeneca vaccine and then boosted with Biotech or Moderna will be 60 percent protected for two to four weeks after vaccination. Ten weeks after the booster vaccine, the safety of the Biotech booster dropped to 35 percent and that of the Modern Booster to 45 percent.

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The basic vaccine of the Biotech vaccine showed the best values: they were preserved 70 percent after the booster vaccine by Biotech and 45 percent ten weeks later. With a booster with the Moderna vaccine, the coverage was 70 to 75 percent nine weeks after the booster. This means that the Moderna booster was most effective against Omigran after two doses of Biotech.

A new study from late December shows that Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine also protects well against omigran. Unlike the Biontech / Pfizer, Moderna or Astrazeneca vaccines, the vector vaccine, which requires only one dose per vaccine, provides 85 percent protection against hospital admission to the Omigron infection when administered twice, the South African Medical Research Council said on Thursday.

Important Note: Under no circumstances should information change the professional advice or treatment of trained and accredited physicians. The contents of D-Online should not be used to make an independent diagnosis or initiate treatment.