– This wave seems to be going much faster than the delta wave, and we thought the delta wave was very fast. It’s incredible for the US media company, says Juliette Pulliam, head of epidemiological modeling and analysis at Stellenbosch University in South Africa. NPR.
An analysis by she and colleagues shows that the omicron variant is highly infectious and appears to have a greater ability to bypass the immune system than the delta variant.
“There is a lot of uncertainty in the analysis, but I would say it’s likely,” Pulliam explains to NPR.
Their findings were presented at a research conference last Friday.
So far, the delta variant has been the most infectious type of coronavirus known.
It is also likely that more people who have already contracted COVID-19 will develop the omicron variant, than the delta and beta variants. However, researchers cannot quantify the potential increase in so-called re-infection.
Nor does their study draw any conclusions about whether vaccinated people who became infected were at greater risk of contracting the disease from the new virus variant, the so-called superinfection.
After the discovery in South Africa last month, omikron has appeared in more than 20 countries, but much remains unclear about the new variant of the virus. At least six cases of omicron have been found in Sweden. They all have a history of travel to South Africa.