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Omicron grows faster in airways, slower in lungs – Study

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...Another research says Omicron holds cells more tightly, withstands some antibodies

RESEARCHERS say that differences in how well Omicron and other variants of the coronavirus multiply may help predict Omicron’s effects.

  An official report on careful study by a group of experts in Hong Kong University gave the hints in their yet-to-be-published preview of their findings.

  According to their leader, Dr. Michael Chan Chi-wai, “it is important to note that the severity of disease in humans is not determined only by virus replication but also by each person’s immune response to the infection.”

Chi-wai said such a response sometimes turns into life-threatening inflammation.

  The study further explained that compared to the earlier Delta variant, Omicron multiplies itself 70 times more quickly in tissues that line airway passages.

  “This may speed up person-to-person spread, the researchers said. But in lung tissues, Omicron multiplies 10 times more slowly than the original kind of the coronavirus. This difference might lead to less-severe illness. 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. Taken together with our recent studies showing that the Omicron variant can partially escape immunity from vaccines and past infection, the overall threat from Omicron variant is likely to be very significant,” Chi-wai added.

  It will be recalled that pathogenic is a term that describes something such as a type of bacteria or a virus that causes disease.

Meanwhile, another group of researchers said a model of how Omicron variant attaches to cells and antibodies gives information about its behavior and will help in designing treatments.

Using computer models of the spike protein on Omicron’s surface, they examined changes occurring when the spike grabs onto a cell-surface protein called ACE2, the virus’ way into the cell.

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