Virologist Altstein: the omicron strain can ease the course of COVID-19 and end the pandemic
Virologist, MD, professor, chief officer The Gamaleya Center Anatoly Altstein told whether a new omicron strain of coronavirus could cause a new wave of pandemic by the New Year. The specialist shared his opinion in an interview with Sputnik radio.
According to Altstein, the omicron strain will not have time to spread before the New Year, since this will take about six months for the virus. The specialist recalled that the delta variant appeared in the fall of 2020, but began to be widely encountered in May-July 2021. He also named the condition for the end of the pandemic: for this, the omicron strain should facilitate the course of COVID-19.
“If the mortality rate of the coronavirus is comparable to the flu, then we will already assume that the pandemic is over. The pandemic has a chance to end with the omicron, “the virologist emphasized.
The physician added that current data indicate that in most cases the omicron strain does not cause a severe course of coronavirus. He recalled that this variant of the infection has 32 mutations in the main protein, which indicates its unstable genome, which suppresses factors in the development of a serious illness.
“True, the future may undermine my hypothesis, because now the virus, perhaps , has not yet reached the elderly. If it comes, it will be seen. But so far the omicron does not give the impression of a virus that is terrible in its consequences, “Altstein concluded.
Earlier, the infectious disease specialist Vladimir Nikiforov linked the arrival of the omicron strain with the end of the pandemic. In his opinion, the coronavirus has already “begun to slide into the area of common seasonal respiratory infections.”