Omicron three times more infectious than Delta: Study

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Omicron three times more infectious than Delta: Study (Image: Pixabay)
Omicron three times more infectious than Delta: Study (Image: Pixabay)

New Delhi : A preliminary study by South African scientists has revealed that the Omicron variant of coronavirus is three times more infectious than the Delta variant.

The findings have been made public after studying the data collected by the country's health system. The report provides the first epidemiological evidence about Omicron's ability to evade immunity from prior infection.

The paper has been uploaded on a medical preprint server and has not yet been peer-reviewed.

There were 35,670 suspected reinfections among 2.8 million individuals with positive tests until November 27. 

"Recent reinfections have occurred in individuals whose primary infections occurred across all three waves, with the most having their primary infection in the Delta wave," tweeted Juliet Pulliam, director of the South African DSI-NRF Centre of Excellence in Epidemiological Modelling and Analysis.

Since the data of vaccination among the infected people was not available, so it is difficult to say if the new strain is capable of evading vaccination.

"Data are also urgently needed on disease severity associated with Omicron infection, including in individuals with a history of prior infection," she said.

Michael Head, a scientist at the University of Southampton, praised the research as "high quality."

"This analysis does look very concerning, with immunity from previous infections being relatively easily bypassed. Might this all still be a 'false alarm'? That is looking less and less likely," he said in a statement.