Bad news from Marc Van Ranst regarding the Omicron variant: “We don’t know why”

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The meteoric rise in cases linked to the Omicron variant had quickly raised a wave of (moderate) optimism among many experts in the country and around the world. Indeed, the first studies concerning this new variant had shown that it was less pathogenic. Concretely, people infected by Omicron fell less seriously ill or did not end up in intensive care.

The hope was therefore to see Omicron’s numbers exceed those of the Delta variant. Forecasts that do not translate into current reality, as Marc Van Ranst confirmed last night in De afspraak. “85% of infections today are due to Omicron, but 15% are still in the Delta. And we can see it in hospitals, especially mine (UZ Leuven), that things have turned around for admissions. The majority of patients who end up in intensive care are infected with the delta, ”he said.

A stagnation of figures that the virologist considers unfortunate and inexplicable. “It went really well but at 85 percent the numbers started to stagnate and that’s where it gets stuck. We don’t know why, we also see it in other countries. There may be a subgroup within the Delta Variant that is slightly more contagious and can compete with Omicron. “

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It remains to be hoped that the next variant will be linked more to Omicron than to Delta. “Then this virus will continue to become less virulent. The luck is great, but it remains to be seen. We cannot predict that exactly ”.

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