The rate of infection in the Omicron variant is 8.3 times higher

This week, a year after the approval of the first vaccine against the corona virus, we have already reached 8.5 billion Vaccine doses given worldwide. Had vaccines been divided according to global priorities, most of the world would have already been vaccinated. But they are not, and the corona is far from finished.

Also this week, global attention focused on the Omicron variant, which was discovered about a month ago in South Africa and put the world in a spin. It is already known that this variant is much more contagious than the Delta variant, which is more contagious than the (British) alpha, which was much more contagious than the original Chinese virus. As expected, the virus continues to evolve and challenge us over and over again.

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How much antibody is needed to neutralize Corona virus?

In the last week and a half, several studies have been published that have examined the effectiveness of the various vaccines against the new variant. Most are “neutralization studies,” meaning infection of cells under laboratory conditions with the corona virus, or another genetically modified virus that would allow it to mimic the corona virus. In such an experiment, the cells are exposed to a constant concentration of virus and increasing concentrations of antibodies produced from the blood of the vaccinated or recovering, and tested for how much antibody is needed to neutralize the virus before it can infect the cells.

In all the studies published so far, there has been a long-term decrease in the effectiveness of neutralizing the virus in the blood of vaccinated people. Some studies have shown that the antibodies of vaccinated people who received a booster dose (third dose) and recovered vaccines still showed quite high efficacy in neutralizing the virus, but had a little more difficulty with the Omicron variant. In one of the studies A decrease in the blood antibody efficacy was found in vaccinated people who received the booster dose three months ago, compared with vaccinated individuals who received it recently.

The findings of such studies provide us with only a preliminary indication of the effectiveness of protection against the virus, and they do not always faithfully reflect what is actually happening in the animal body. First, it is not entirely clear what is the value below which a decrease in the effectiveness of neutralization will be reflected in an actual impairment of the effectiveness of immune defense. Second, neutralizing antibodies are but one arm of the immune response, not necessarily the most important. There are other mechanisms involved in the response of the immune system to the virus, and for evidence – the neutralization tests of the variant variant were disappointing compared to the neutralization tests of previous variants, and yet the vaccine was very effective against them.


List of neutralization studies published so far. From Prof. Yaniv Erlich’s Twitter account

The real world test

Ultimately what determines is the “real world test.” Already this week, two reports were published, one From the UK And the other from South Africa, which evaluates the actual effectiveness of the vaccine based on existing data. It is important to remember that these are preliminary data based on reports from the last month only.

The UK and South Africa are countries with different characteristics: in the UK, the two-dose immunization rate is high, residents have been vaccinated with Pfizer, Modern, Johnson & Johnson and Astra-Zenica vaccines, and about 30 percent The population was immunized with a booster dose. According to the British report, the level of protection from infection with the Omicron variant of vaccines that have been vaccinated twice with the AstraZenica vaccine has dropped to zero, and the level of protection provided by Pfizer’s two doses of vaccine has dropped to 30 percent – also quite low. In those who received the booster vaccine during the month before the test, the level of protection was about 75-70 percent. We will emphasize that infection protection has been tested, and there is still not enough information to determine how much the vaccines protect against a serious illness.

The report also shows that among recovering people, the rate of infections in the Omicron variant is 8-3 times higher than in the Delta variant. Unsurprisingly, more infections were observed in people living in the same household. Probably due to the little time that has passed since it started spreading, so it was not possible to estimate the mortality rate expected from it. It should also be borne in mind that the reports relate to a relatively small number of patients, and we will know more as more data on variant morbidity accumulate.

Preliminary findings from the UK suggest that the disease of those infected with the micron is milder – it is unclear whether due to the high rates of vaccinated and recovering in the population, or because the virus itself is less violent than previous variants. Yet, Death The first from the Omicron variant reported this week in the United Kingdom shows that even if it may cause a milder disease, it should not be underestimated.

The second report is from South Africa, which has been dealing with the new variant for a longer period, so it reflects more hospitalization data. According to the South African report, the effectiveness of the two-dose vaccine in preventing hospitalization has now dropped to about 70 percent compared to the unvaccinated. Because in South Africa impulse doses have not yet been vaccinated, there is no information on how they affect the prevention of serious morbidity. The protection provided by the vaccine is maintained at all ages, with an advantage for young people, most of whom are also vaccinated later than the older population.

In examining the severity of the disease, the researchers identified a 30 percent reduction in the risk of developing a serious disease in the omicron variant compared to other variants. If the findings are true, these are of course good news, but given that the new variant is much more contagious than its predecessors, there may not be a decrease in the overall number of severe patients.

Another interesting figure recently published shows that the mortality rate in the current wave in South Africa Much lower From the mortality rate in the previous wave. This difference is reminiscent of the gaps we have seen between the Alpha variant wave and the Delta variant wave in the UK, where the difference was due to a high rate of vaccinating and recovering in the population. Because South Africa is a country with a particularly high recovery rate. It is quite possible that this is also the cause of the relatively low mortality rate in the current wave. Anyway, even though the fog is a little less thick, the uncertainty is still great.

The article was originally published on the Davidson website

Israel: Focus on children

In Israel Efforts are now being made Increase parents’ responsiveness to vaccinating their children, due to the low immunization rates at a young age. According to the publications, no unusual medical events have been reported so far in vaccinated children in the United States and the rare side effect of myocarditis has not been identified at all. These are of course only preliminary reports, but they are certainly encouraging and consistent with what is known about this phenomenon regardless of the vaccine – that it mainly affects young men. In the meantime, it is important to remember that the protection provided by the vaccine takes about a month to develop (a week from the second dose), during which time the virus continues to spread.

In South Africa variant Omicron is already responsible for 90 percent of infections, and in the United States the rate of infection in it Zinc Within a week from 0.4 percent of all new diagnoses to almost three percent of infections. The new variant arrived in the United States just a few weeks ago, so it is advancing very fast. In the UK, the infection rate in the Omicron variant reached about 16 per centThe new contagious in the country. These signs indicate that there is a good chance that Omicron is on its way to becoming the dominant variant in the world.

So what do we know?

We already know that the new variant, Omicron, is much more contagious than its predecessors – it is still not clear how many times. We see that the protection that the vaccine provides against infection is greatly reduced in veteran and vaccinated recoverers who have not received a booster dose. We know that the vaccine provides good protection against a serious illness, although it may be less so than in the past.

We also estimate that the disease is becoming milder than in the past, perhaps due to a high rate of vaccinated and recovering, but perhaps also because the virus has become less violent. However, because of its dizzying rate of infection, there may not be a decrease in the total number of patients is difficult, since when the number of patients is very high, low percentages are also very important. This week we know a little more than last week, and next week we will know a little more. Science does not rest and does not stop.

By Editor

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