A South African doctor reports mild progress in Covid 19 sufferers who have been infected with the new variant. From this, the first people are concluding that the pandemic will end soon. Much too early, say experts.
The new omicron variant has more than 30 mutations on the spike protein alone. This is every part of the virus that the Sars-CoV-2 coronavirus uses to dock on our cells. What this means for the infectiousness and danger of the virus is still unclear.
Reports that those infected with the Omikron variant invariably have a mild course spread like wildfire. Some now hope that the mutations could have made the virus more harmless.
Experts like Christian Drosten warn against jumping to conclusions like this: «I don't think there is very much substance about it. We have only detected a little over a thousand cases and their clinical course has to be seen first. That means that you really have to be open to everything, ”said the virologist to ZDF.
Reports of mild courses in Omikron infected people quickly went viral.
Some people now hope that the Sars-CoV-2 coronavirus has become more harmless as a result of the mutations.
Experts from all over the world warn against jumping to such conclusions.
The reports of mild courses in people who have been infected with the Omikron variant raise hopes that the new mutant could have fewer dire consequences than experts feared. Martin C. Janssen, former banking professor from Zurich, who speaks out against the Covid vaccinations and already promoted the worming agent ivermectin, rejoices on Twitter: “That would also be the end of the pandemic.”
But: Such predictions are not justified at this point in time. “All statements about the severity of Omikron – both in the direction of 'milder' and 'more severe' are not serious at this point in time and are pure speculation based on unreliable information,” says Kai Schulze from the Robert Koch Institute.
The US epidemiologist Eric Feigl-Ding blows the same horn: “A lot of misinformation is now being spread that #Omicron is 'mild'. This is nonsense based on a quote taken out of context. Don't fall for it – nobody knows that much. ” This is how Patrick Mathys, Head of the Crisis Management Section at the BAG, sees it: Reliable statements about Omikron are currently hardly possible because the data is very thin.
Drosten criticizes lack of substance
Christian Drosten, virologist at the Charité in Berlin, also warns of too much optimism: the reports about mild courses have «not very much substance yet. We have only detected a little over a thousand cases and you have to see their clinical course first, ”he explained on ZDF. You really have to be open to everything at the moment.
The only thing that could say is that “this infection often occurs in young people in South Africa, in people who first and foremost have already had the disease, who now get it as a second or third infection and then also with it Symptoms. ” However, it is still completely unclear how the Omikron variant affects children, high-risk patients and the elderly.
Currently everything is «super unsafe»
It is true that the variant initially known as B.1.1.529 with its numerous mutations is “armed to the teeth”, as Friedemann Weber, head of the Institute for Virology at the Justus Liebig University in Giessen, says. But what that means cannot yet be estimated. Because “Mutations often work together,” says Emma Hodcroft from the University of Bern. That means: Depending on the combination, the effect can be different. Since the combination occurring in B.1.1.529 has never been there before, no statements can yet be made about it.
Mutations don't necessarily make viruses more dangerous. It can even do exactly the opposite, as Drosten explained in his podcast in March 2020. According to this, viruses could even weaken their ability to make you sick as part of the adaptation. Such a development can make sense for a virus. After all, it wants to spread as widely as possible. If it kills its host, it achieves this goal much more poorly than if the host lives on and spreads the virus.
The next one to two weeks will show what the Omikron mutations will lead to, says Schulze. Everything is still “super insecure”. Until then, he advises «anyone who may be psychologically stressed, struggling with anxiety or stress symptoms, just do a social media detox for a few days and log out.»
Unvaccinated people with a greater risk of hospitalization
One thing is already becoming apparent: Unvaccinated people seem to have a greater risk of being hospitalized even with the new variant. The US virologist Angela Rasmussen points out in a tweet: “The announcement that the super variant could mean the downfall for vaccinated people could be premature.” Most of the people who had to go to hospital in South Africa because of Omikron are not vaccinated.
Do you or does someone you know have problems with the corona time?
You can find help here:
BAG-Infoline Coronavirus, Tel. 058 463 00 00
BAG-Infoline Covid-19 vaccination, Tel. 058 377 88 92
Dureschnufe.ch, platform for mental health related to Corona
Safezone.ch, anonymous online advice on addiction issues
Industry Aid.ch, Advice for affected economic sectors
Pro Juventute, advice for children and young people, Tel. 147
Offered hand, worries hotline, Tel. 143
Subscribe to the knowledge channel notifications in the 20-minute app. You will be informed about groundbreaking findings and discoveries from research, explanations of current events and curious news from the wide world of science. You will also receive answers to everyday questions and tips for a better life.
How it works: Install the latest version of the 20-minute app. At the bottom right, tap on «Cockpit», then «Settings» and finally on «Push notifications». At the point «Topics», tap «Knowledge» – et voilà!
My 20 minutes