New Delhi [India], December 21 (ANI): The new COVID-19 variant Omicron is milder than the Delta variant in terms of severity and a few patients did not even witness fever so far, said Dr Manoj Sharma, Senior Consultant Internal Medicine at Delhi’s Fortis Hospital on Tuesday.
Three doctors who have treated Omicron patients spoke to ANI on the subject.
Dr Sharma said, “Generally, Omicron is milder than Delta variant in terms of severity so a few patients have just had cold and not even fever so far. Although it is a very early stage to generalise about the symptoms of Omicron.”
“Data worldwide also suggested that severity of illness in Omicron is less. But when it started infecting the healthy adult population and then they may infect the elder individual then only we will be coming to know the severity of the illness,” Dr Manoj further said.
“In the older age population or those with comorbidities any disease is more severe. It’s too early to say that this omicron patient will require oxygen or not or severity of illness,” he added.
“We are giving just paracetamol tablet only if somebody has a fever. We have treated 34 Omicron positive patients till now and the majority of them are asymptomatic. One patient was having low-grade fever, one complained about body ache and the rest of them were having cold-like symptoms.
We have just given symptomatic treatment and none of them required steroids, oxygen or antiviral,” said Dr Suresh Kumar, Medical Director at LNJP hospital.
In reply to a question about the reason behind high transmissibility and seemingly milder symptoms, Dr Lalit Kant, former head of epidemiology and communicable diseases division at the Indian Council of Medical Research, referred to a study conducted in Hong Kong outside the human body by taking tissues from the bronchus.
“The study has been published online and has not yet been peer-reviewed, so conclusions should be drawn with caution. Also to note that study was done outside the human body. Tissues from the bronchus (the windpipe of the lungs) picked up from patients during surgery was used to grow the virus in the lab,” Dr Kant informed.
“After 24 hours, Omicron had replicated about 70 times more than the Delta or the original Wuhan strain. This could lead to people shedding more viruses and infecting others more easily,” he added.
Further, Dr Lalit Kant stated, “It was also reported that the virus replicated 10 times slower in the lung tissue. This could be a possible explanation of mild symptoms.”
He also warned that slow replication in lungs may not be the only explanation for milder symptoms, but “we should remember that severity of illness is the result of many things, most importantly, the speed of replication of the virus and by an individual’s immune response, especially whether the immune system produces a cytokine response.
So, slow replication in lungs may not be the only explanation for milder symptoms”.
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