Why does the omicron variant create mild COVID symptoms? – Deseret News

Early research suggests the omicron variant of the novel coronavirus creates less severe symptoms among infected patients, and we may now have as to hint why.

South Africa’s health minister said Friday that vaccines and previous COVID-19 infections may be the reason, according to The Washington Post.

  • “We believe that it might not necessarily just be that omicron is less virulent, but we believe that this coverage of vaccination, also in addition to natural immunity of people who have already had contact with the virus, is also adding to the protection,” said Joe Phaahla, the nation’s health minister. “That’s why we are seeing mild illness.”

Meanwhile, Dr. Michelle Groome, an official at the National Institute for Communicable Diseases in South Africa, said in a tweet that the omicron variant “is likely to be milder because of our underlying immunity, rather than intrinsic virulence of the virus.”

  • But the unvaccinated and uninfected are still at risk for severe COVID-19, she said.

So far, the ZOE COVID Study, which has analyzed thousands of COVID-19 cases, identified the most popular symptoms for COVID-19 infections from the time when the omicron variant likely began the spread.

  • The most common symptoms — runny nose, headache, fatigue, sneezing and sore throat — were similar to those of previous variants, as I wrote for the Deseret News.

Similarly, multiple reports from the U.K. suggest that patients with omicron infections had scratchy throats, which is slightly different than the sore throat symptom seen in previous COVID-19 variants, according to The Hill.