A Danish study found that the Omicron variant of coronavirus can evade the vaccinated peoples’ immunity better than the Delta strain.
The study was published last week, Reuters reported, which helps explain why Omicron is more contagious than Delta which was the dominating variant before Omicron emerged in November.
In their study, the researchers at the University of Copenhagen, Statistics Denmark and Statens Serum Institut (SSI), have been seeking to find out why Omicron is spreading more rapidly but causing less serious disease.
The scientists found that the Omicron variant was 2.7 to 3.7 times more infectious than the Delta variant after they conducted an investigation on nearly 12,000 Danish households in mid-December.
Among the Danes, 78% have been fully vaccinated, while nearly 48% of them have received a booster shot. More than 80% of Danes have received Pfizer-BioNTech’s vaccine.
They discovered that the new variant is spreading more rapidly mainly because it is better at circumventing immunity obtained from the vaccinated peoples.
“Our findings confirm that the rapid spread of the Omicron primarily can be ascribed to the immune evasiveness rather than an inherent increase in the basic transmissibility,” the researchers said.
While more transmissible, the heavily mutated Omicron variant does seem to induce less serious disease, the findings show, which echoes some other studies into Omicron.
“While Omicron will still be able to put pressure on our healthcare system, everything indicates that it is milder than the Delta variant,” SSI’s technical director Tyra Grove Krause told local media on Monday. She added that the risk of hospitalization from Omicron was half of that with Delta.
“This may be what is going to lift us out of the pandemic, so that this becomes the last wave of corona,” she said.