Omicron as serious as previous COVID variants, large study finds

During the ongoing coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic in Washington, US, on December 27, 2021, a sign requiring masks is seen outside a closed business. REUTERS/Elizabeth Frantz

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May 5 (Reuters) – The Omicron variant of the SARS-CoV2 virus is intrinsically just as serious as previous variants, contrary to assumptions in previous studies that it was more transmissible but less severe, a large study in the United States has found States demonstrated.

“We found that the risks of hospitalization and death were nearly identical between time periods,” said four scientists who conducted the study based on data from 130,000 COVID-19 patients, citing times over the past two years when different variants were found across the globe. were world dominant.

The study, which is undergoing peer review at Nature Portfolio and posted to Research Square May 2, was adjusted for confounders such as demographics, vaccination status and the Charlson comorbidity index which predicts the risk of death within one year of hospitalization for patients with specific comorbidities.

The studies that assumed the Omicron variant to be less severe were conducted in several places, including South Africa, Scotland, England and Canada, the scientists from Massachusetts General Hospital, Minerva University and Harvard Medical School said.

They said their study could have several limitations, including the possibility that it underestimated the number of patients vaccinated in more recent COVID waves and the total number of infections, because it excluded patients taking rapid tests at home.

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Reporting by Sayantani Ghosh in Singapore; Editing by Robert Birsel

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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