Asymptomatic Cases Of Omicron Variant Develops Rapidly In The Airways Than In Lungs

Asymptomatic Cases Of Omicron Variant Develops Rapidly In The Airways Compared To Lungs

Omicron attaches to cells more firmly and is resistant to certain antibodies.

Asymptomatic Cases Of Omicron Variant Develops Rapidly In The Airways Compared To Lungs

The following is an overview of several recent COVID-19 studies. They contain research that requires more research to substantiate the conclusions and has not yet been verified by peer review.

Omicron develops more rapidly in the airways than in the lungs.

Significant differences in the efficiency of Omicron and other coronavirus variants might help in predicting Omicron's effects, experts said on Wednesday.

In comparison to the previous Delta strain, Omicron multiplies 70 times faster in the tissues lining airway passages, which could increase person-to-person transmission, the researchers added. However, Omicron multiplies 10 times slower in lung tissues than the initial coronavirus, which may lead to less severe illness.

The study team has not yet produced a formal report on the results, which is now undergoing peer assessment for publication. Dr Michael Chan Chi-wai, the study's leader, said in a press release by Hong Kong University, “It is important to note that the severity of disease in humans is not determined only by virus replication but also by each person's immune response to the infection, which sometimes evolves into life-threatening inflammation.”

Chan added, “By infecting many more people, a very infectious virus may cause more severe disease and death even though the virus itself may be less pathogenic. Therefore, taken together with our recent studies showing that the Omicron variant can partially escape immunity from vaccines and past infection, the overall threat from the Omicron variant is likely to be very significant.

Omicron attaches to cells more firmly and is resistant to certain antibodies.

Source - The New York Times

According to the researchers, a structural model of how the Omicron variant connects to cells and antibodies gives insight on its behaviour and will aid in the development of neutralising antibodies.

They analysed molecular interactions that occur when the spike attaches to a cell-surface protein called ACE2, the virus’s entry point into the cell, using computer simulations of the spike protein on Omicron’s surface.

Metaphorically, the initial virus shook hands with ACE2, but Omicron’s hold was stronger.

Looks more like a couple holding hands with their fingers entwined," said Joseph Lubin of Rutgers University in New Jersey. The “molecular anatomy" of the grip may assist in explaining how Omicron’s mutations cooperate to help it infect cells, Lubin added.

Additionally, the study team modelled the spike with several types of antibodies attempting to target it. Antibodies attack from a variety of angles, “like a football team’s defence might tackle a ball carrier," with one person grabbing from behind, another from the front, Lubin said. Some antibodies “appear likely to get shaken off" while others are likely to remain effective. Booster vaccines raise antibody levels, resulting in “more defenders," which might compensate to some extent for a weaker grip of an individual antibody," Lubin said.

The findings, posted on Monday on the website bioRxiv ahead of peer review, need to be verified, “particularly with real-world samples from people," Lubin said. “While our molecular structure predictions are by no means a final word on Omicron, (we hope) they enable a faster and more effective response from the global community.

Four out of every ten infected individuals may unknowingly spread the virus.

Infected individuals who exhibit no symptoms may play a key role in the transmission of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, since they contribute for 40.5 percent of confirmed infections globally, according to a research published online Tuesday in the journal JAMA Network Open.

The researchers merged data from 77 previous investigations containing a total of 19,884 confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infections. They discovered that around 40% of infected individuals in the general population, 54% of infected pregnant women, 53% of infected air or cruise travellers, 48% of infected nursing home residents or employees, and 30% of infected healthcare personnel or hospitalised patients were asymptomatic.

Asymptomatic infections occurred at a rate of around 46% in North America, 44% in Europe, and 28% in Asia.

The high percentage of asymptomatic infections highlights the potential transmission risk of asymptomatic infections in communities," wrote Min Liu and colleagues at Peking University in China. Officials should screen for asymptomatic infections, and those who are identified “should be under management similar to that for confirmed infections, including isolating and contact tracing.

Source – Reuters

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