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Doctor says 'drastic measures' are needed to stop Omicron spread

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The Omicron variant is moving at a dizzying pace and health experts are constantly playing catch up. On GMB this morning, a panel of experts fielded questions from the general public to help fill in some of the gaps. One viewer wrote in and asked: Can you have Omicron and Delta at the same time?

Epidemiology expert Professor Irene Peterson was on hand to answer this question.

According to Professor Peterson, technically you could have Omicron and Delta at the same time, but it is unlikely.

Why? “It is likely that the Omicron will win because it doubles so much faster than the Delta.”

Prof Peterson’s analysis echoes the opinion of other prominent experts.

Maria Van Kherkhove, the COVID-19 Technical Lead at the World Health Organization took to Twitter to inform that Omicron is growing fast in countries where it has been detected while also stating that there will be more cases of the new variant with increased transmissibility.

“There are some early studies from the UK that have looked at secondary transmission. Looking at higher secondary transmission as compared to Delta but again it’s still early,” Ms Kherkove further added.

Further exploring the rate of transmissibility, Doctor Mike Ryan, the Executive Director of WHO’s health emergencies program, said that the transmissibility in Omicron is higher due to a change in the spike protein the protein that attaches to the human cell.

“The Omicron variant has a change in its genetic sequence that has changed the shape and the ability of the spike protein to enter human cells and that’s probably giving it its transmission advantage.”

By some estimates, alli testimonies the variant is up to 70 times more transmissible than the Delta variant.

A study found that the variant multiplies faster in the human bronchi but does not replicate that effect in the lung tissue which is why it does not cause the severity of the disease.

The study is however not peer-reviewed yet.

Omicron has now replaced Delta to become the dominant variant of Covid in England, a recent analysis suggests.

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