Unvaccinated people infected with the Omicron variant of the coronavirus may be less likely to become seriously ill, need to be treated or end up with what happened to previous variants, according to a South African study published today.
A study by the National Institute of Communicable Diseases in the Western Cape, which has not yet been evaluated by peers, compared some 11.600 patients with the first three waves of the pandemic to about 5.100 with the Omicron variant. which appeared in November.
Omicron tends to cause less serious disease worldwide and correspondingly fewer hospital admissions and deaths than previous variants.
Scientists are trying to determine the extent to which this is due to the fact that there are higher rates of immunity due to vaccinations or natural disease or Omicron is inherently less aggressive.
The research concludes that about a quarter of the reduced risk of serious Omicron disease is attributed to characteristics of the virus itself.
"In the Omicron-induced wave, severe illness was avoided mainly because of the protection afforded by previous infection and / or vaccination, but the inherently reduced infectious capacity may correspond to about 25% reduced risk of hospitalization or death relative to Delta ", it is reported.