A member of the Nervtag advisory group said Omicron has properties that have “surprised” scientists to some extent – and suggested that Covid is now infecting cells in a different way.
Professor Ravi Gupta told Sky News: “Some experiments that have been done in different groups suggest that the virus has somehow changed the way it infects cells.
“This again is potentially due to certain mutations that have occurred, and there may be, and this is a big caveat, there may be a slightly different profile for this virus. [compared to Delta].
“Nonetheless, even if it were a bit milder, in a very broad sense, the large number of cases would still mean that some people would get very sick.
“We don’t anticipate that this virus, because of these changes, will suddenly become harmless, I think that shouldn’t be the interpretation of the work we and others are doing. But what we’re saying is we’re learning about the virus all the time. “
He added that conclusions about its pathogenicity could come in the coming weeks.
However, Prof Gupta said that although we are in a different situation compared to last year, the increase in deaths and cases of Omicron is still “of great concern”.
He told Sky News: “(This is due to) the sheer numbers that are going to be affected due to the increased transmissibility of this virus (and that) is going to potentially overwhelm our healthcare services. So this is a really critical situation we are facing.
He added: ‘Even though vaccines protect us to a significant extent, then the increased transmissibility and penetration of the virus into the communities that we are already seeing is putting a lot of pressure (on the NHS) because a very small fraction of a very large number always translates into a significant number of hospitalizations.
Professor Gupta, professor of clinical microbiology at the Cambridge Institute for Therapeutic Immunology and Infectious Diseases since 2019, said he was “at an intermediate point of view” on whether England Should or should not take more stringent measures to tackle the growing number of Omicron cases.
He told Sky News: “My personal take is that I’m in the middle of the two types of views on this. I think the restrictions we had were significant.
“I think we could go further, but I’m not necessarily saying that a full lockdown is the essential policy decision, but of course I’m not the decision maker and all I do is do scientific research. and advise accordingly. “
For more stories about where you live, visit InYourZone.