Daily Management Review

In The Face Of The Omicron Spread, Vaccines, Medications, And Data Provide Some Festive Cheer


In The Face Of The Omicron Spread, Vaccines, Medications, And Data Provide Some Festive Cheer
The global spread of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus continued unabated, prompting health experts to caution that the fight top end the infections caused by the Covid-19 variant is still long way away.
On the other hand however, two pharma companies have claimed that their vaccinations protected against the variant and indicate that it has a lower risk of hospitalisation.
Coronavirus infections have risen dramatically in areas where the highly infectious Omicron form has spread, prompting additional restrictions in several nations and the emergence of new cases.
However, two days prior to Christmas, a US Federal Drug Administration (FDA) official said that data showed that Merck & Co Inc's and Pfizer Inc's Covid-19 antivirals were both efficacious against the variant.
Even though the director of a key African health body joined the World Health Organization in warning people that it was too early to draw general conclusions regarding hospitalisation rates, there were hopeful indicators from Britain and South Africa.
"Let's be careful not to extrapolate what we are seeing in South Africa across the continent, or across the world," Africa Centres for Disease Control (CDC) chief John Nkengasong said.
Despite this, US stock indices and Treasury yields both rose on Thursday, owing in part to renewed confidence following Omicron's role in ratcheting up market volatility for much of the final month of 2021.
"Today is a very calm day. It’s the relief over Omicron apparently not being as bad as we feared," Ryan Detrick, chief market strategist at LPL Financial, said. read more
Omicron, which was first discovered last month in southern Africa and Hong Kong, is quickly spreading across most of Europe, including the United Kingdom, where everyday new infections have surpassed 100,000.
On Thursday, France reported the worst day ever with respect to new Covid-19 cases, with almost 91,000 new cases reported, while Germany noted its first death linked to Omicron infection.
Last year, all publicly held New Year's Eve celebrations were cancelled in Italy, the first Western country to be affected by the pandemic, while public Christmas celebrations were outlawed in Greece. Both countries have made wearing a mask outside the home mandatory. 
Millions of Americans in the United States pushed through their vacations, which included cross-country flights. On Wednesday, authorities reported 2,081,297 people were inspected at the country's airports, up 144,000 from the same date in 2019 before the pandemic.
Rise in hospitalizations and deaths in South Africa and the United Kingdom seem to have been incremental after Omicron was found in the countries, and AstraZeneca and Novavax have joined other producers in claiming that their vaccines protect against he variant.
Scientists of Edinburgh revealed on Wednesday that the number of Omicron patients who required to be hospitalised was 68 per cent lower than they expected based on the rate among Delta patients.
Scientists from Imperial College London found evidence of a 40 per cent to 45 per cent reduction in hospitalisation risk.
On Thursday, the United Kingdom set a new daily record for new coronavirus cases, at 119,789. However, preliminary data from the UK Health Security Agency revealed that those with Omicron were 31 per cent to 45 per cent less likely to go to the hospital than people with Delta, and 50 per cent to 70 per cent less likely to be admitted.
Jenny Harries, the UKHSA's chief executive, called this "an positive early signal," but cautioned that "additional study is needed to corroborate these findings." find out more
Merck's antiviral pill was approved for some high-risk adult patients by the FDA in Washington, just a day after Pfizer received approval for a similar medication. find out more
According to Patrizia Cavazzoni, a top FDA official, both tablets function by interfering with how the virus replicates, a mechanism that is consistent among variations.