- Research led by Michael Chan Chi-wai of the University of Hong Kong, study is under peer review for publication.
- Omicron infects and multiplies 70 times faster in the bronchus than the Delta variant, a possible explanation for extra transmissibility
- Omicron infection in the lung is significantly lower than the original strain, as variant replicated less efficiently in tissues of lung, a possible explanation for difference in severity
- Study notes that disease severity ‘is not determined only by virus replication but also by the host immune response to the infection’
- Dr Chan notes that ‘by infecting many more people, a very infectious virus may cause more severe disease and death even though the virus itself may be less pathogenic’
Link to research media release can be found here