omicron: Covid-19: Omicron variant spreads 70 times faster than Delta, study finds – Nach Welt

HONGKONG: Omikron multiplies much faster in human bronchi and much slower in lung tissue, according to a study from Hong Kong, which offers one possible explanation for why the Covid-19 Variant spreads so quickly, but may cause less severe illness in some patients.
Using tissue taken from human bodies, the researchers found that 24 hours after infection in the human bronchus, Omicron replicated 70 times faster than the Delta variant or the original strain of coronavirus. The bronchi are large airways that lead to the lungs.

Meanwhile, the rate of replication in human lung tissue was more than ten times lower than that of the original strain – an observation made according to a statement from the LKS medical school at The Hong Kong University.

The research – still under peer review for publication – could shed biological light on reports from health authorities in South Africa and elsewhere, the Omicron is spreading faster than anything else in the pandemic, but generally causing less severe bouts of Covid-19. The daily numbers of new cases hit records in the UK and South Africa on Wednesday.

The severity of the disease not only depends on virus replication, but is also related to how the immune system reacts to an infection, potentially leading to the so-called cytokine storms that caused many of the deaths in the pandemic, said Michael Chan Chiwai , associate professor in the university’s School of Public Health, in the statement.
In addition, “a very infectious virus can cause more serious illness and death by infecting many more people, although the virus itself may be less pathogenic,” said Chan, who led the research team.
“Together with our current studies that show that the Omicron-Variante “If you can partially escape immunity from vaccines and past infections, the overall threat from the Omicron variant is likely very significant,” Chan said.


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