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Delta remains dominant, but loses ground to Omicron

The Delta variant remains dominant in the world. It causes severe forms of disease that often result in death. The other variants – Alpha, Beta, Gamma – continue to be met, but Omicron, during a very short period of time, climbed to the second place by contagiousness after Delta. There are countries where Omicron became dominant and continues to proliferate. It is estimated that each patient with Omicron infects 7.7 times more persons than in the case of Delta. On November 26, the WHO labeled Omicron ‘a variant of concern’ owing to its high transmissibility, Angela Paraschiv, lecturer at the Preventive Medicine Department, stated in a conference at the State University of Medicine and Pharmacy “Nicolae Testemițanu”, IPN reports.

Compared with Delta, in the case of Omicron the capacity to neutralize the virus through antibodies decreased significantly. The number of reinfections has increased. “Most of the persons become infected inside the family,” said Angela Paraschiv. She noted that in Moldova, the transmission rate is at 1.3. “If we reach a rate of 2.56, the forecasts that we can have even 4,000 cases of infection a day can come true. In the UK, the number of cases doubles each three days. The transmission rate there is 3.7.

The virus is transmitted both through vaccinated persons and unvaccinated persons, but causes much milder forms of disease in the vaccinated persons, including those who got the booster dose. “As this variant has much more mutations than the previous variants, it can avoid the immune system,” stated Angela Paraschiv, noting the severity of Omicron is by 29% lower than in the case of the previous variants.

Vaccine effectiveness against Omicron is 70%, as opposed to 95% in the case of Delta, but protection against severe forms, hospitalization and death is preserved.

The Omicron variant was identified first in Botswana on November 11, 2021 and three days later in South Africa. It later spread swiftly due to the rapid multiplication capacity of the virus.

In Moldova, there were detected 16 cases of Omicron: 11 in men and five in women. Twelve of these are from Chisinau, two from Durlești, while one from the Transnistrian region. Most of the persons are aged between 20 and 49. Nine of those infected were unvaccinated.

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