Preliminary Omicron Data Suggests It Is No More Severe Than Other Variants

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The World Health Organisation has revealed that initial studies of the Omicron variant are suggesting it may not be as severe as had been feared.

Uncertainty over the latest variant has caused nations around the world to implement restrictions, with some even returning to lockdowns.

Further research is required before a final determination can be made, but early indications are positive.

The World Health Organization’s emergencies director Dr Mike Ryan says it is "highly unlikely" that Omicron is resistant to existing vaccines, even while it is likely more transmissible than other variants.

"The preliminary data doesn’t indicate that this is more severe," Ryan said. "In fact, if anything, the direction is towards less severity. We have highly effective vaccines that have proved effective against all the variants so far, in terms of severe disease and hospitalisation… There’s no reason to expect that it wouldn’t be so [for Omicron]."

Dr Anthony Fauci echoed the WHO's assessment.

"It almost certainly is not more severe than Delta," Fauci said. "There is some suggestion that it might even be less severe."

Fauci did however acknowledge that Omicron has thus far been spreading in younger populations that wouldn't generally require hospitalisation and that further research would be required.

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