NewsOmikron: Virologist Drosten warns of "German special problem"

Omikron: Virologist Drosten warns of "German special problem"

The Omikron variant of the coronavirus is on the rise in Germany and neighboring countries. Christian Drosten warns. The situation in the news ticker.

  • The omicron variant * of the coronavirus is spreading rapidly around the world.
  • Research into the corona mutation * is progressing.
  • The news situation on the Corona variant Omikron at a glance.

Update from Friday, December 31, 2021, 10.15 a.m.: Christian Drosten, virologist at the Charité in Berlin, has expressed a cautiously optimistic forecast regarding the Omikron variant in circulation (see update from 8.25 p.m.). In it, the scientist referred, among other things, to data on Omikron from South Africa, which are “reassuring”. The number of new infections there has recently been on the decline. In addition, Drosten commented on studies from Great Britain, where there have been fewer admissions to hospitals after Omicron infections in the past few weeks.

The central factor, however, is the corona vaccination rate, which is still too low in Germany. The fact that the willingness to be vaccinated or boosted is not yet sufficient is a “special German problem” with a view to vaccination rates in Denmark or Great Britain, said Drosten in the ZDF’s “heute journal”.

Virologe Christian Drosten


Virologist Christian Drosten has been in the public eye since the beginning of the corona pandemic. As a virologist, he mainly speaks about research into Sars-CoV-2. (Archive photo)

Omikron variant: Drosten is cautiously optimistic

+++ 8:25 p.m.: Christian Drosten sees reason for cautious optimism in the further development of the corona pandemic in Germany. The background is data from South Africa, where the particularly contagious virus variant Omikron initially spread: “In a way, that can calm us down. South Africa is certainly a glimpse into a future, into an endemic situation that is just emerging there, ”said Drosten on Thursday evening in the ZDF“ heute journal ”. “Unfortunately, we are still a long way from it.”

The transition from a pandemic to an endemic situation means that the virus will continue to spread, but is less dangerous – comparable to the typical cold viruses, which also include other coronaviruses.



An illustration of the coronavirus.

The development in Great Britain with regard to Omikron is also encouraging, said Drosten, “because the number of serious illnesses seems to be lower”. However, the virologist believes that politics in Germany will continue to be challenged, “maybe until Easter”. Experts reckon that the peak of an omicron wave in Germany is still to come.

“Sudden increase” in the number of corona cases due to Omikron: RKI warns of “overload”

+++ 2.30 p.m.: The Omikron variant of the Sars-CoV-2 coronavirus is currently spreading in Germany. The RKI reported current data in this regard on Thursday afternoon (see update from 1 p.m.). In the latest weekly report, the institute now warns of a “sudden increase” in the number of corona cases. In the course of this, according to the RKI, “the health system and other care areas could quickly become overloaded” in Germany.

Update from Thursday, December 30th, 2021, 1 p.m.: The number of corona cases with the Omikron variant, which is considered particularly contagious, has increased further. As the Robert Koch Institute announced on Thursday, the total number of cases recorded increased within one day by 28 percent to 16,748. There were 3619 cases more than on Wednesday. According to the information, late registrations from the past few weeks were also recorded.

Of the total number of those infected with Omikron, 208 people had to be treated in hospital, according to the RKI. The institute registered another death in connection with the variant. The total number of deceased in the Omicron count increased to five. Omikron cases are recorded in the RKI statistics in which there is evidence by means of whole genome sequencing or a suspicion by a variant-specific PCR laboratory test. According to the information, there may be several days or weeks between the first report of a corona case and the Labo result about the existence of a certain variant, depending on the detection method.

Omicron variant: WHO warns of “tsunami”

+++ 6.18 p.m.: The World Health Organization (WHO) has warned of a collapse of the health systems because of the omicron and delta variants of the coronavirus. “I am deeply concerned that the more contagious omicron that circulates simultaneously with Delta will lead to a tsunami of cases,” WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said at a press conference in Geneva on Wednesday.

“This is and will continue to be under immense pressure and pressure on exhausted health workers and health systems that are on the verge of collapse,” added Tedros. The highly contagious omicron variant of the coronavirus has led to a massive increase in the number of infections worldwide.

More than 6.5 million infections were detected worldwide from December 22nd to 28th – the highest weekly value since the beginning of the pandemic, as the AFP news agency reported on Wednesday on the basis of information from the authorities. In Europe in particular, the number of infections is skyrocketing.

Virologist Streeck warns of reckless “contamination” with the Omicron variant

+++ 12.30 p.m.: Virologist Hendrik Streeck warned on Wednesday morning of a “contamination” by the Omikron variant. This comes one way or another, emphasized the scientist. However, it is “dangerous” to bring them about “actively” at an early stage. Too many people with vulnerable immune systems would probably suffer as a result.

Despite good news about Omikron, which virologist Christian Drosten also spread *, that infections with the Omikron variant probably lead to milder Covid-19 courses than with other variants, the risk of ending up in the intensive care unit is still real, according to Streeck in an interview with ntv.

Omicron risk very high – WHO explains

+++ 10.30 a.m.: According to the World Health Organization WHO, the danger posed by the omicron variant of the coronavirus is still very high. The WHO announced this in its weekly situation report. According to previous observations, the variant spreads significantly faster than the delta variant did. In the United States and Great Britain she is now the dominant mutant. According to the WHO, the rapid growth rate is probably a combination of both the lower protection provided by the immune system and the increased transferability of the omicron variant. However, a decrease in cases has recently been recorded in South Africa.

In addition, preliminary data from Great Britain, South Africa and Denmark showed that compared to the Delta variant, the sick do not have to be treated as often in a clinic, the WHO said. But more studies are needed to really understand these observations. It is to be expected that drugs that have been tried and tested so far will also help with this variant.

“Drama of the situation” by Omikron: FDP General Secretary no longer excludes compulsory vaccination

+++ 9.15 a.m.: The designated FDP general secretary left a decision on the general compulsory vaccination in Germany open. He will look at the situation after various applications and “come to a decision afterwards”, said Bijan Djir-Sarai in the “Morgenmagazin” of the ZDF *.

Djir-Sarai said that compulsory vaccination could become an actual option in view of the omicron variant that is circulating: “Today we’ll see, in the summer I didn’t know anything about the Omicron variant. From my point of view, the drama of the situation, as we have it now, was not recognizable in the summer. ”At that time, the FDP politician had positioned himself against compulsory corona vaccination.

Omikron dominates corona infections in the USA

Update from Wednesday, December 29th, 2021, 8.15 a.m.: In the USA * the number of new corona infections continues to rise rapidly. For Monday, the CDC health authority announced more than 440,000 new cases in one day – the highest reported daily value since the pandemic began. However, it can be assumed that this number is falsified due to the holidays, as late registrations are likely to have come after Christmas. The data vary significantly – the New York Times even reported more than 500,000 new infections for the day.

States such as New York, New Jersey, Illinois and Maryland as well as the capital Washington had recorded high levels of new corona infections every day in the past few days. The Omicron variant now dominates the infection rate in the USA. Even though the CDC recently revised its estimates of the spread of the new variant downwards, the proportion of the variant in new infections has increased significantly since the beginning of December.

Omikron is now the predominant Corona variant in two neighboring countries

+++ 7:25 p.m.: The Omikron mutation has now established itself as the predominant coronavirus variant in Switzerland and the Netherlands. On Tuesday (December 28th, 2021) more than 13,000 new infections were reported for Switzerland, of which around 55 percent of the cases of infection are due to the Omikron variant.

There were also around 40 cases nationwide in which sick people had to be admitted to hospital despite a booster vaccination, said Patrick Mathys, head of the crisis management and international cooperation section at the Federal Office of Public Health.

Omikron variant: Corona lockdown in the Netherlands until mid-January

The Netherlands recorded a decrease in new infections with 9213 cases on Tuesday, but are expecting a new increase due to the high risk of infection of the Omikron variant, according to the national institute for public health. The Netherlands had imposed a new lockdown before Christmas *.

All non-essential shops, restaurants and bars, cinemas, museums and theaters will remain closed until mid-January – possibly with a positive effect. Most recently, the number of hospital admissions fell from 256 in the previous week to 191 this week.

+++ 4.30 p.m.: The omicron variant of the coronavirus, which is spreading ever further, is largely resistant to current antibodies, according to Göttingen researchers. A new study shows that antibodies from recovered people barely inhibited the omicron variant, said the Göttingen University Medical Center and the Leibniz Institute for Primate Research Göttingen on Tuesday.

The antibodies formed after two Biontech / Pfizer vaccinations were also significantly less effective against the Omikron variant than against the Delta variant. Better inhibition, however, was observed after triple Biontech / Pfizer vaccination * as well as after cross-vaccination with Oxford-AstraZeneca and Biontech / Pfizer.

Corona: Omicron resistant to antibodies

The team, which in addition to the Göttingen experts also included researchers from the Hanover Medical School, the German Center for Infection Research in Braunschweig and the Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nuremberg, was able to further show that most of the therapeutic Antibodies used to treat Covid-19 are not effective against the Omicron variant.

“Our results indicate that the antibody therapies for Covid-19 must be adapted to the Omikron variant,” said study leader Stefan Pohlmann.

Omikron: Corona infections are increasing rapidly in Germany

First report from Tuesday, December 28th, 2021, 3:30 p.m .: Berlin / Frankfurt – The number of Omikron cases * in Germany is increasing rapidly. The new Corona variant is becoming more and more popular. So far, 10,443 corona infections with the mutation have been measured. This is based on data from the Robert Koch Institute.

This corresponds to an increase of 45 percent (3218 cases) compared to the previous day (Monday, December 27th, 2021). According to the RKI, there have been four deaths in Germany so far that were related to Omikron infections. The institute expects that the variant will soon develop into the predominant mutation of Sars-CoV-2 and replace the delta variant. A total of more than 20,000 new corona infections were reported to the RKI by the health authorities on Tuesday (December 28, 2021). *

Corona variant Omikron: research with initial findings

The Omikron variant is considered highly infectious, in other words: It spreads further quickly. Researchers have also found out what can lead to a kind of “super immunity” compared to Omikron. * In addition, there are scientific findings about the effect of corona vaccinations with regard to the Omikron variant. It was found, for example, that a dead vaccine hardly works against it. *

Christian Drosten, virologist at the Charité in Berlin, also has “good” news about the Omikron variant. * (Tu / ktho with dpa / AFP / epd / KNA)

List of rubric lists: © Michael Kappeler / dpa

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