Model calculations: Omikron could soon replace Delta

Status: 02.12.2021, 4:46 p.m.

The new variant of the coronavirus could be predominant in Europe in just a few months. This was the result of model calculations by the EU disease control authority ECDC. This concern is also growing in Africa.

The EU disease control authority ECDC expects that Omikron could become the predominant Corona variant in Europe in a few months. “Based on the mathematical model calculations of the ECDC, there are indications that Omikron could cause more than half of all Sars-CoV-2 infections in the EU / in the European Economic Area within a few months,” says a report by the EU authority Assessment of the threat situation. The Delta variant is currently predominant in Europe.

South African scientists first detected the new corona variant a week ago. So far, it has 32 mutations, so it is to be feared that it will be more easily transferable.

Massive increase in the number of cases in Africa

In Africa, meanwhile, the number of infections is increasing significantly. With Botswana, Ghana, Nigeria and South Africa, Omikron has now been identified in four countries on the continent, said John Nkengasong from the African Union’s health organization (Africa CDC).

In the whole of Africa 52,300 new infections were counted in the past week – that is an increase of 105 percent compared to the previous week. South Africa accounted for 31,000 new infections.

Survived infection probably no protection against Omikron

Almost 80 percent of all DNA-sequenced corona test results in South Africa indicated an infection with the Omicron variant, said Anne von Gottberg, a microbiologist at the National Institute for Communicable Diseases in Johannesburg. “So it looks like omicron is predominant in the country.” In addition, initial analyzes indicated that the number of reinfections in South Africa is increasing. “We conclude that the population could be more susceptible to Omikron than Delta,” said Gottberg.

According to a preliminary assessment, a survived corona infection does not protect against infection with the new omicron variant, according to Gottberg. The question will be explored further. However, there are signs that the course of the disease with Omikron is less severe if it is a reinfection or the patient has been vaccinated.

Cases also in Norway, France and India

Omicron infections are being reported from more and more countries. At least 50 people in the Norwegian capital Oslo were infected with the coronavirus variant. According to the city council, the cases went back to a company’s Christmas party in a restaurant. Further infections are expected.

France’s health authorities reported the first confirmed case in mainland France. The regional authority Île-de-France announced that a man between 50 and 60 years old from Paris had tested positive after returning from a trip to Nigeria.

Two cases of infection with the omicron variant have been discovered in India. Two foreign men were infected in the southern state of Karnataka, according to employees of the Ministry of Health. The 66-year-old and the 46-year-old entered the Indian “Silicon Valley” Bengaluru in November and were monitored.

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