Omicron as severe as previous COVID variants, large study finds

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

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

“We found that the risks of hospitalization and mortality were nearly identical between time periods,” said four scientists who conducted the study based on records of 130,000 COVID-19 patients, referring to time points at the time. past two years where different variants were dominant across the world. .

The study, which is peer-reviewed at Nature Portfolio and was published on Research Square on May 2, was adjusted to account for confounding factors, including demographics, vaccination status and the Charlson Comorbidity Index which predicts the risk of death within one year of hospitalization for patients with specific comorbid conditions.

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

They said their study may 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, as it excluded patients who took tests. fast 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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