Large study finds Omicron as severe as previous variants of COVID

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

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

“We found that the risks of hospitalization and mortality were nearly identical between periods,” said four scientists who conducted the study based on records of 130,000 COVID-19 patients, referring to times in the past two years when different variables were prevalent around the world. .

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

Studies that assumed the Omicron variant was less severe have been conducted in various places including South Africa, Scotland, England and Canada, the scientists from Massachusetts General Hospital, University of Minerva and Harvard Medical School said.

They said their study could have several limitations, including the possibility that it underestimated the number of patients vaccinated in the newer COVID waves, and the overall number of infections, because it excluded patients who took rapid tests at home.

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Covered by Sayantani Ghosh in Singapore. Editing by Robert Persell

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