South African scientists prepare for waves propelled by Omicron

“Young people in their 20s and late 30s have moderate to severe illnesses and some need intensive care. About 65% are unvaccinated and most of the rest are vaccinated only half. “No,” said Mathivha. “I’m worried that public health facilities will be overwhelmed as the numbers grow.”

She said urgent preparations were needed to enable public hospitals to cope with the potential large influx of patients in need of intensive care.

“We know there are new varieties,” said Mathivha. “The worst scenario is that it hits us like a Delta … we need to prepare a critical care bed.”

What appeared to be a cluster infection among some Pretoria college students first swelled into hundreds and then thousands of new cases in the capital, then in nearby Johannesburg, South Africa’s largest city. I did.

According to South African health officials, scientists have studied the surge and identified new mutants that indicate that diagnostic tests are likely to be responsible for as many as 90% of new cases. Early studies have shown a recall of 2. That is, everyone infected can spread the infection to the other two.

The new variant has a number of mutations that may help make it more contagious and avoid an immune response. The World Health Organization examined the data on Friday and named it variant omicron under a system that uses Greek letters, calling it a highly contagious variant of concern.

“That’s a big concern. We’re all very worried about the virus,” Professor Willem Hanecom, director of the African Institute of Health, told The Associated Press.

“This variant is primarily in Gauteng, South Africa’s Johannesburg region, but diagnostic tests have provided clues … this suggests that this variant is already present throughout South Africa. “Masu,” said Hanekom, co-chair of the South African COVID Variant Research Consortium.

“The scientific reaction from within South Africa is that we need to learn as soon as possible. We know very little about what is valuable,” he said. “For example, I don’t know how toxic this virus is. So how bad is the disease it causes?”

An important factor is vaccination. The new variant seems to be spreading most rapidly among unvaccinated people. Currently, only about 40% of South African adults are vaccinated, a far smaller number in the 20-40 age group.

South Africa has about 20 million doses of vaccine manufactured by Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson, but the number of people vaccinated is about 120,000 per day, a government target of 300,000 per day. Far below the number of people.

As scientists try to learn more about Omicron, South Africans can take steps to protect themselves from Omicron, Hanecom said.

“This is a unique opportunity. We believe that unvaccinated people still have time to vaccinate, which provides protection against this infection, especially severe infections, severe illness and death. “He said. “So I call on people to get vaccinated if possible.”

South African scientists prepare for waves propelled by Omicron

Source link South African scientists prepare for waves propelled by Omicron

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