The studies concluded that Omicron variant may produce more infections than Delta, but the risk of hospitalisation is lesser by 40 to 45 per cent Photograph:( AFP )
Both studies suggested that even though Omicron causes less hospitalisation than Delta, the need for a booster dose to provide additional protection cannot be ruled out
Omicron variant may produce more infections than Delta, but the risk of hospitalisation is lesser by 40 to 45 per cent, two new studies from Britain have revealed.
The preliminary studies — one paper from Scotland and the other from England — that are yet to be peer reviewed stated that the Omicron variant was associated with milder symptoms and likely to cause less hospitalisation than Delta.
During a media briefing on Wednesday, Jim McMenamin, director at Public Health Scotland and co-author, called the research “qualified good news.”
“Qualified because these are early observations, they are statistically significant, and we are showing a reduced risk of hospitalisations,” AFP quoted McMenamin as saying.
The Scottish paper examined Covid cases reported in November and December and compared the infections caused by Delta against Omicron.
The study also found that a booster dose would provide significant additional protection against symptomatic infection.
The study was small and there were no people under 60 hospitalised at the time, but the authors said they had adjusted for these limitations using statistical methods.
The second paper from Imperial College London had similar findings, suggesting that there was a 20 to 25 per cent reduction in hospitalisation for Omicron compared to Delta, and a 40 to 45 per cent reduction in hospitalisations lasting one night or longer.
The London study, which included 56,000 omicron cases and 269,000 delta cases, also called for a booster dose for additional protection against the Omicron.
Azra Ghani of the Imperial College London, who co-authored the study, said in a statement, “Whilst the reduced risk of hospitalisation with the Omicron variant is reassuring, the risk of infection remains extremely high.”
“With the addition of the booster dose, vaccines continue to offer the best protection against infection and hospitalisation.”
(With inputs from agencies)