The Director of South Africa’s Communicable Disease Institute revealed on Tuesday that the Omicron variant of the coronavirus detected in South Africa can outcompete the highly contagious Delta variant.
The Omicron variant has raised alarms worldwide, with countries restricting travelers from South Africa for fears that it can be transmitted rapidly even in vaccinated populations as the World Health Organization (WHO) says that it carries a ‘very high risk of infection surges’.
Acting Executive Director of South Africa’s National Institute for Communicable Diseases Adrian Puren said,
We thought what will outcompete Delta? That has always been the question, in terms of transmissibility at least, … perhaps this particular variant is the variant.
If the new variant is more transmissible than Delta, it will lead to another surge in infections and create pressure on hospitals.
Puren said that scientists will be able to determine the extent to which Omicron can evade the immunity created by vaccines within four weeks.