NewsOmicron variant: WHO chief urges caution - "increased risk...

Omicron variant: WHO chief urges caution – "increased risk of re-infection"

The Omikron variant is on the rise. How dangerous is it for those who have been vaccinated and those who have recovered? All news here in the ticker.

  • The omicron variant * of the coronavirus is spreading more and more.
  • The WHO urges caution with the new variant (update from December 8, 7:35 p.m.) .
  • Virologist Ciesek: Vaccination antibodies do not work with Omikron (update from December 8th, 10.13 a.m.).
  • This news ticker is updated regularly.

Update from December 8, 7:35 p.m.: According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the omicron variant of the coronavirus could lead to a higher reinfection rate, but milder disease courses. “The latest data from South Africa indicate an increased risk of re-infection” for those who have recovered and for those who have been vaccinated, said WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus in Geneva on Wednesday. However, there are also indications of less severe disease courses than in the delta variant.

However, further research is needed to reach clear conclusions. Despite the possibly milder course of the disease, Tedros continued to warn: “Any negligence will cost human lives.” The Omikron variant has now been proven in at least 57 countries.

WHO-Chef Tedros Adhanom gab ein Update zur Omikron-Variante.

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WHO chief Tedros Adhanom gave an update on the Omikron variant.

The head of the WHO emergency department, Michael Ryan, also joined the warning. According to preliminary data, the new variant could therefore be more contagious than the delta variant. That doesn’t mean that the “virus is unstoppable,” said Ryan. However, efforts to break the transmission chains would have to be doubled. At a higher risk of contagion, more people could become ill, health systems could become overloaded, “and more people could die,” said Ryan.

Omikron bad news about vaccine effect: top virologist Ciesek and Drosten comment

Update from December 8th, 3:30 p.m .: How dangerous is the new Corona variant Omikron really? And do the currently available vaccines work with the same intensity as against the previously known virus mutations? After virologist Sandra Ciesek and virologist Christian Drosten (see previous update) had already spoken in the morning, Health Minister Karl Lauterbach is now also publishing his opinion. The future Federal Minister of Health explains on Twitter: “The data on the risk from the Omicron variant is becoming more and more clear. Nevertheless, based on what we have learned so far, booster vaccinations provide good protection. Definitely from serious illness. Probably also from infection. That has to be the goal. “

Update from December 8, 2.10 p.m.: After virologist Sandra Ciesek had published bad news (see update from December 8, 10.13 a.m.), virologist Christian Drosten now also expresses himself. On Twitter, the expert explains in relation to the effectiveness of the current vaccines in connection with the new Corona variant Omikron: “A 40-fold reduction in neutralization activity does NOT mean that the vaccination is 40 times less protective. The real loss of immunity is much less. At the moment triple vaccination is the best protection. New vaccines only after the winter wave. Don’t wait, just boost. “

Meanwhile, the corona vaccine manufacturer Biontech / Pfizer is also publishing an initial assessment of the vaccine’s effectiveness against the new corona variant. The manufacturers announced that they assumed that their jointly developed vaccine would be able to provide a version adapted to the new variant by the end of March 2022.

Omikron: Top virologist with bad news – current vaccines are unlikely to have any effect

Update from December 8, 10.13 a.m.: Virologist Sandra Ciesek from the Frankfurt University Hospital also has no good news. The corona vaccines showed a drastically weaker defense reaction against Omikron. That would have shown the first laboratory tests.

“The data confirm that developing a vaccine adapted to Omikron makes sense,” tweeted Ciesek. The virologist also pointed out, however, that it is not possible to read from her analysis whether people who have been vaccinated are protected from a severe course at Omikron. Because the immune response is not only based on antibodies, but also, for example, on T cells.

Omikron: complete vaccination ineffective?

According to Ciesek, the antibody response against Omikron is drastically reduced compared to the Delta variant – there is also a reduction in people with a booster vaccination.

Anyone who has been cross-vaccinated twice with Biontech, twice with Moderna or with Astrazeneca and Biontech will no longer have any immune protection from the antibodies against the new Omikron variant after six months. “0 percent neutralization at Omicron,” writes Ciesek.

This is how the booster works at Omikron

After a booster – vaccinated twice with Biontech and then boosted with Biontech – it looks a little better. Three months after the booster, Omikron is still 25 percent neutralized. For comparison: With Delta, the booster neutralizes 95 percent. Ciesek’s conclusion: The protection after Booster decreases against Omikron by a factor of 37 compared to Delta. The data have not yet been reviewed by specialist colleagues and have not been published in a specialist magazine.

First Omikron data on vaccination protection from Biontech from South Africa

Update from December 8th, 7.29 a.m.: Does the currently available vaccine against the new Coronavirus variant Omikron work? Biontech boss Sahin assumes that data on the effectiveness of the vaccine could be available on Wednesday or Thursday.

Alex Sigal, professor at the Africa Health Research Institute, has already tweeted the first preliminary results. The vaccine from Biontech / Pfizer vaccine apparently only offers partial protection against the Omikron variant. The neutralization of Omikron has “decreased very much” compared to an earlier Covid strain, explained Sigal.

“The results are better than I expected. The more antibodies you have, the better the chances of being protected against Omikron, ”tweeted Sigal. “Omikron is a problem that we can solve with the tools we have.”

The available data have not yet been verified by experts. In addition, the number of test persons is quite small, which could limit the meaningfulness of the results. The laboratory examined the blood of twelve people, it is said.

Virologist gives grim prognosis for Omikron

Update from December 7th, 10:35 p.m.: The number of infections with the Omikron variant is also increasing in Germany. Now the virologist Isabella Eckerle, professor at Geneva University, warns of the variant and a possible fifth wave. Eckerle writes on Twitter: “There is still a lot of uncertainty about #Omicron, but I dare to say that it will almost certainly come & cause the 5th wave.”

The virologist speaks of an “efficient transmission, probably more than #Delta” and that you have to prepare well. Eckerle also makes it clear: “The data is still very thin”, but “all the new pieces of the puzzle that are just being added” went in the wrong direction. The virologist hopes that she is wrong with her assessment and that the virus variant brings about a mild course of the disease. Unfortunately, the “current data from South Africa does not look like it”.

Drosten warns of Omikron: “Soon a serious problem”

Update from December 7th, 8:05 pm: US government advisor Fauci had just said that the Omikron variant of the coronavirus is “almost certainly” no worse than the delta mutation ( see update from December 7th, 17:21 pm Clock ). Now virologist Christian Drosten steps in to make the seriousness of the situation clear: “The delta virus is our problem until January, the omicron virus is our problem until summer.”

The high rate of spread also worries him, according to Drosten in the NDR podcast “The Coronavirus Update”. If the previously measured doubling time of infections of three to four days is also evident in Germany, “then this is a development that is faster than any political decision-making option. Then we would soon have a serious problem, ”explains the chief virologist. He is placing his hopes in political measures such as the 2G regulation.

Drosten worried about Omikron: “A lot of virus, a lot of disease”

Drosten issues a warning to the unvaccinated in particular: You shouldn’t be fooled by the fact that the course of the disease in South Africa is rather mild. Because there would be infected people who have already been infected with the corona virus once or even twice. One must therefore not assume a reduction in the severity of the disease, but probably an aggravation of it.

Simply put, Drosten says: “A lot of virus, a lot of disease” and recommends vaccination and booster vaccination to every citizen. Because he himself assumes that the vaccine immunity including booster vaccination protects better against a severe course of the disease with the new Omikron variant than an infection that has already been overcome. The virologist admits that there have not yet been any reliable studies on this.

Christian Drosten

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The virologist Christian Drosten has been named Man of the Year 2021.

US immunologist Fauci: Omikron almost certainly “no worse than Delta”

Update from December 7th, 5:21 pm: How dangerous is the Omikron variant really? There is currently no secured data on this. Nevertheless, US expert Anthony Fauci is now almost committed: “It is almost certain that it is not worse than Delta,” he told the AFP news agency on Tuesday. Accordingly, there are even indications that Omikron could even be less serious. In South Africa, for example, it was observed that “the ratio between the number of infections and the number of hospital stays is probably lower than at Delta”.

However, the physician does not want to commit himself completely, since reliable results can only be expected in several weeks, according to the AFP . But what already seems certain: Omikron is “clearly highly transferable,” explains Fauci. With regard to the vaccine effect with the new Corona variant, the government advisor expects results in the last ten of a week.

WHO warns: one in ten Europeans will soon be infected with corona

Update from December 7th, 12:53 p.m .: “Omikron is in sight and on the advance, and we are rightly concerned and cautious,” said WHO Regional Director Hans Kluge on Tuesday. The current problem, however, is the delta variant that continues to dominate. “How we are successful today against Delta is a victory over Omikron tomorrow.” You have to take action against all variants at once in order to stabilize the pandemic.

One in ten Europeans will have a proven corona infection behind them – by the end of this week. These are the latest figures from the WHO European Office. The number of new infections would have more than doubled in the last two months. It is increasing in all age groups, but is currently the highest among five- to 14-year-olds.

The number of deaths would have more than doubled in the period. At the same time, it remains well below previous highs, stressed the WHO. Without the vaccinations, the mortality would have been significantly worse. The WHO counts 53 countries in the Europe region, including not only the EU but also countries further east such as Russia, Ukraine and Turkey.

Expert: Omikron dominated in Great Britain within weeks

Update from December 7th, 11:42 am : “I’m pretty sure it will likely become dominant within weeks”: Jeffrey Barrett warns that Omikron will soon gain the upper hand in the UK. You can now say that the corona variant is spreading faster in the country than Delta, the expert from the Wellcome Sanger Institute told the BBC radio station on Tuesday.

Corona in Germany: Omikron case at a primary school in North Rhine-Westphalia

Update from December 7th, 9.30 a.m.: It is still unclear how dangerous the new Omikron variant actually is. The number of cases discovered is also rising steadily in Germany. Now there is apparently a confirmed infection at a primary school in Düsseldorf. As the WDR reports, a primary school child is said to be infected with the new Corona variant. However, the infection has not yet been officially confirmed to the public. The child has not attended school for a long time, as the WDR reports, the entire school learned in distance lessons in the past week.

Accordingly, the school management decided to take the step after a total of 28 corona cases had occurred at the school. As the WDR reported, citing the headmistress, there was considerable resistance from some parents after this step. These had pushed for face-to-face teaching. Since this week, classes should actually take place in face-to-face again.

Nahaufnahme der Hände: In einem Klassenzimmer einer Grundschule in Bielefeld spielt ein Kind mit Pop-Its.

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An Omikron case was registered in a German elementary school (symbol picture).

Update from December 7th, 6.49 a.m.: Since 5 a.m. this Tuesday morning, travelers to Great Britain have only come into the country with a negative corona test. The regulation applies to all people from the age of twelve. The PCR or antigen test must not be older than 48 hours.

This is intended to slow the spread of the Omikron variant, said the British Ministry of Health. The government had previously requested a PCR test on arrival. A quarantine obligation applies until the result is negative.

Boris Johnson wants to wait with Omikron with contact restrictions

Critics had described the travel restrictions as ineffective, as Omikron is already circulating in the UK. Domestic contact restrictions are more important, they demanded. But the government of Prime Minister Boris Johnson has so far refused to accept this. “We’re still waiting to see how dangerous it is, what effect it has on deaths and hospital admissions,” Johnson said Monday.

Eine 3D-Simulation des neuartigen Coronavirus

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The Corona variant Omikron (symbol picture) causes concern.

New Omicron infections in those who have recovered and who have been vaccinated? New data from South Africa calls into question 2G

Update from December 6th, 10:22 pm: “We are recording an infection rate that we have not seen since the beginning of the epidemic,” said South African President Cyril Ramaphosa on Monday. The newly discovered variant of Omicron seems to be on the rise, he warned, adding: “I call on all South Africans to get vaccinated immediately”.

According to the latest information, the number of cases of infection has quintupled within a week to around 16,000 last Friday. Around a quarter of the corona tests in South Africa are now positive – two weeks ago it was only two percent.

Most infections are in the province of Gauteng, which also includes the capital Pretoria and the economic metropolis Johannesburg. The first omicron cases were discovered in Gauteng in November.

New Omicron infections in those who have recovered and who have been vaccinated? New data from South Africa calls into question 2G

First report from December 6th: Munich – In Germany, the 2G rule currently applies in many places. The new Omikron variant of the coronavirus * could pose a risk despite this precautionary measure. Because: According to the World Health Organization (WHO), a corona infection that has been overcome does not protect against infection with the new omicron variant. “We think that a previous infection does not protect against Omikron,” said infectiologist Anne von Gottberg of South Africa’s National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) on Thursday (December 2nd) at a press conference of the WHO Regional Office for Africa.

Omicron variant: can the vaccination prevent or only weaken infections?

The scientist said the question will be explored further. However, initial observations suggest that people who have already been infected by Omikron could contract Covid-19 again. Then the symptoms were apparently often less severe. According to von Gottberg, the existing corona vaccines should continue to protect against serious diseases. How effective the vaccines actually are against the new variant is not yet conclusively clear.

Was nützt die 2G-Regel bei der Omikron-Variante des Coronavirus noch?

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What is the use of the 2G rule with the Omikron variant of the coronavirus?

The head of the US vaccine manufacturer Moderna *, Stéphane Bancel, expressed himself pessimistically at the end of November: He was assuming a “significant decrease” in the protective effect, he told the Financial Times . After all, 32 of the 50 mutations in Omikron concern the spike protein with which the coronavirus penetrates cells.

Assessment by Biontech founder Sahin: How effective is the vaccination against the Omikron variant?

Biontech co-founder Ugur Sahin * does not rule out that Omikron could cause more infections in vaccinated people. It is very likely that the current vaccinations continued to protect against severe disease. “Our message is: don’t panic, the plan stays the same. Speed up the administration of the third dose. “

Laboratory tests should provide further information about Omikron, the results of which should be available in two to three weeks. A lesser effect of the existing vaccines against Omikron does not mean that they have no effect at all, emphasize specialist circles. “All people who get vaccinated do not start from scratch when they encounter a new variant,” said the President of the Robert Koch Institute, Lothar Wieler, at the end of November. Meanwhile, some German federal states are examining the exception to the 2G-Plus rule for booster-vaccinated people.

According to WHO information, the Omikron variant has now been detected in more than 20 countries, including Germany. India reported the first two Omicron cases on Thursday. In the southern state of Karnataka, two men aged 66 and 46 had tested positive for the Corona variant *, said a representative from the Ministry of Health. Now all of her first and second degree contacts would also be tested. (AFP / lb) * Merkur.de is an offer from IPPEN.MEDIA

Header list image: © Eventpress SK via imago images

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