British Data Suggests Lower Hospitalisation Rate for Omicron Covid-19 Variant

Omicron is associated with a two-thirds reduction in the risk of Covid-19 hospitalisation. The preliminary studies — one paper from Scotland and the other from England — were cautiously welcomed by experts, who nonetheless stressed that any advantage in milder outcomes could still be negated by the new strain’s heightened infectiousness, which may still lead to more overall severe cases.

We’re saying that this is qualified good news — qualified because these are early observations, they are statistically significant, and we are showing a reduced risk of hospitalisations,” Jim McMenamin, a co-author of the Scottish research, told reporters on a call.

The Scottish paper examined Covid cases recorded in November and December, and grouped them by cases caused by Delta against those caused by Omicron. It found that “Omicron is associated with a two-thirds reduction in the risk of Covid-19 hospitalisation when compared to Delta,” while also showing that a booster vaccine offered substantial additional protection against symptomatic infection.

https://www.france24.com/

Omicron: two doses of Pfizer offer 70% protection against hospitalisation

Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine has been less effective in South Africa at keeping people infected with the virus out of hospital since the Omicron variant emerged last month, a real-world study published on Tuesday showed.

Between Nov. 15 and Dec. 7, people who had received two doses of the shot had a 70% chance of avoiding hospitalisation, down from 93% during the previous wave of Delta infections, the study showed. When it came to avoiding infection altogether, the study by South Africa’s largest private health insurance administrator, Discovery Health, showed that protection against catching COVID-19 had slumped to 33% from 80% previously.

The findings from the real-world analysis are some of the first about the protection vaccines offer against Omicron outside of laboratory studies, which have so far shown a reduced ability to neutralise the virus.

Source: https://www.reuters.com/

Covid: Pfizer Says Antiviral Pill 89% Effective in High-Risk Cases

An experimental pill to treat Covid developed by the US company Pfizer cuts the risk of hospitalisation or death by 89% in vulnerable adults, clinical trial results suggest. The drugPaxlovid – is intended for use soon after symptoms develop in people at high risk of severe diseaseIt comes a day after the UK medicines regulator approved a similar treatment from Merck Sharp and Dohme (MSD).

Pfizer says it stopped trials early as the initial results were so positiveThe UK has already ordered 250,000 courses of the new Pfizer treatment, along with another 480,000 courses of MSD‘s molnupiravir pillHealth and Social Care Secretary Sajid Javid called the results “incredible”, and said the UK’s medicines regulator would now assess its safety and effectiveness.

If approved, this could be another significant weapon in our armoury to fight the virus alongside our vaccines and other treatments,” he said.

The Pfizer drug, known as a protease inhibitor, is designed to block an enzyme the virus needs in order to multiply. When taken alongside a low dose of another antiviral pill called ritonavir, it stays in the body for longer.

Three pills are taken twice a day for five days.

Source: https://www.bbc.com/