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Thailand Records its Eighth Case of Omicron Coronavirus Variant

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Thailand Records its Eighth Case of Omicron Coronavirus Variant

Thailand’s Public Health Ministry announced on Monday that there are eight Omicron cases, with three samples awaiting confirmation. Director-general of the Department of Medical Sciences, Suppakit Sirilak, said the new infections came from overseas.

Additionally, he said no infection from hybrid variants had been detected in Thailand so far. Furthermore, Dr Suppakit said that Bangkok appears to be slowing down its spread of the Delta variant.

Starting Thursday, the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration will extend quarantine for visitors arriving from overseas through the sandbox and quarantine schemes from five to seven days.

Taweesilp Visanuyothin, the CCSA spokesperson explained Monday’s decision was prompted by the rapid spread of the Omicron variant of Covid-19 and the increase in infections in other countries.

All visitors from countries participating in the Test and Go scheme will undergo an RT-PCR test upon arrival and then be required to conduct their own antigen testing.

Omicron and Vaccines

According to the World Health Organization, the Omicron coronavirus variant, found in Thailand and more than 60 other countries, poses a “very high” risk globally. Some evidence indicates that the virus evades vaccine protection, but clinical studies on its severity are not yet available.

Omicron was first detected in southern Africa and Hong Kong last month; its mutations may increase transmission and increase Covid-19 cases, the WHO said in a technical brief issued on Sunday.

In the reiteration of its Nov 29 assessment, it states, “the overall risk related to the new variant of concern Omicron remains very high for a variety of reasons.”

The report further explained that vaccinated and previously infected individuals were unlikely to build enough antibodies to be able to fight off infection from Omicron, leading to high transmission rates.

WHO warns that it is uncertain whether the novel strain is also more contagious than the dominant Delta variant, which would fuel its spread.

Two-dose Covid-19 vaccine regimens

On Monday, University of Oxford researchers published a lab analysis confirming the WHO’s assessment that two two-dose Covid-19 vaccine regimens do not induce enough neutralizing antibodies against Omicron.

In spite of the weakening of antibody defences from AstraZeneca vaccines and BioTech/Pfizer courses, there is hope that by attacking infected human cells, T-cells, the second pillar of the immune response, can at least prevent severe disease.

There is currently no evidence that Omicron can cause more severe disease, according to Oxford researchers.

A two-shot vaccine from Pfizer and BioNTech may still protect against severe diseases because the mutations were unlikely to evade the T-cell response.

Omicron is less serious than the Delta variant

South Africa has seen an increase in reinfections, according to preliminary evidence cited by the WHO.

According to researchers, early findings from South Africa suggest that Omicron is less serious than the Delta variant. Even more, all cases reported so far in Europe have been mild or asymptomatic. However, it remains unclear to what extent Omicron may be inherently less dangerous, they said.

To better understand the severity profile, more data is needed. As a result of increased transmission, hospitalisations are likely to increase even if the severity is lower than for the Delta variant. More hospitalizations can place a burden on healthcare systems and result in more deaths.

A follow-up report was expected in the coming weeks, noting the time delay between infections and outcomes.

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