A latest study has revealed that the Omicron variant of COVID-19 could be 105 per cent more transmissible than Delta.
French scientists used variant-specific screening tests and genome sequencing to understand the transmission potential of Omicron in that country.
The study, available on the medRxiv site, concluded that Omicron infection was higher among youngsters when compared with the Alpha or the Delta variant.
The research was conducted in France from October 25 to December 18, 2021 with over 1.31 lakh screening tests conducted over a 21-day period for the purpose. The study is yet to be peer-reviewed.
The difference in rate of transmissibility in people with the Delta and Omicron was approximately 105 per cent.
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While the World Health Organization (WHO) dubbed Omicron a “variant of concern” because of it being more transmissible and more resistant to treatment than other COVID-19 variants like Delta, several studies suggest that Omicron is less likely to make people seriously sick.
While Omicron hits the upper respiratory tract with ease, it is less likely to travel further into lungs, which justifies the variant’s more contagious nature and less mortality when compared with Delta.
The WHO, however, is against calling Omicron a “mild” variant mainly because of the rapid rise in cases the world over. “Just like previous variants, Omicron is hospitalising people and it is killing people,” said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the WHO.