When a Japanese scientist analyzed genome data from South Africans, they established that the Omicron variant of Covid-19 is over 4 times more transmissible in its early stage than delta.
The study by a Japanese scientist, a health ministry advisor in Japan suggests the is finding likely to confirm fears about the new strain’s contagiousness.
“The omicron variant transmits more, and escapes immunity built naturally and through vaccines more,” Nishiura wrote in his findings, which were presented at a meeting of the health ministry’s advisory panel on Wednesday.
Nishiura’s study hasn’t been peer-reviewed and published in a scientific journal. The new analysis was conducted using the same method he used in a July study published by the Eurosurveillance medical journal on delta’s predicted dominance ahead of the Tokyo Olympics.
Omicron ‘transmits more and escapes immunity’: New study in Japan claims
Hiroshi Nishiura, a professor of health and environmental sciences at Kyoto University who specializes in mathematical modeling of infectious diseases, analyzed genome data available through November 26 in South Africans in Gauteng province.
Concerns are swirling globally that omicron could deal the world a bigger blow than even delta, and the World Health Organization has cautioned that it could fuel surges with “severe consequences.”
The jump in COVID19 positive cases in South Africa in the wake of the variant’s emergence hasn’t yet overwhelmed hospitals, leading to some optimism that it may only cause mostly mild illness. Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE also said this week that a booster dose of their vaccine could fortify protection against the strain.