Covid: Reassuring data first on Omicron, African official calls for caution

Covid: Reassuring data first on Omicron, African official calls for caution

The director of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) in Africa, Thursday, said that data from South Africa indicating that the Omicron variant of the COVID-19 coronavirus is 70% to 80% less dangerous than delta should not be extrapolated definitively for the entire world. .

A South African study published on Wednesday showed that people with Omicron in October and November in the country were 80% less likely to be hospitalized than those with another variant during the same period.

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“We must interpret the data from South Africa with extreme caution.”African CDC Director John Nkengasong said during an online conference. “It is still early days and there is a local health context.”

“Let us be careful not to extrapolate what we observe in South Africa to the entire continent, or even to the whole world.“, he added.

Younger Population in Africa

John Nkengasong said that the relatively young South African population may have played a role in the observations of the impact of the Omicron variant in the country, while noting that not all countries have the same rate of disease. Vaccination.

Two British studies also showed that the risk of hospitalization is lower with Omicron, albeit to a lesser extent.

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All vaccines lose efficacy against Omicron to varying degrees, John Nkengasong said, and he urged all unvaccinated Africans to take a booster dose.

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“It is particularly clear that the Omicron variant presents a challenge to all vaccines”, said John Nkengasong, noting that barely 10% of the African population has been fully vaccinated.

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