Four questions about the Omicron variant
Chantal Reusken, top expert in virology
BEELDTEKST: Four questions about the Omicron variant.
BEELDTEKST: How quickly is the omicron variant spreading in the Netherlands?
CHANTAL REUSKEN: The Omicron variant has spread rapidly throughout the Netherlands. Just a few weeks after its arrival in the Netherlands, it has already replaced the Delta variant of the SARS-CoV-2 virus.
BEELDTEKST: How virulent is the Omicron variant?
CHANTAL REUSKEN: We are not sure yet about the Omicron variant’s potential to cause illness (virulence). Initial studies from Denmark, England and South Africa suggest that this variant is less virulent than the Delta variant. However, if it does turn out to be less likely to cause severe illness does not mean that it will not lead to problems, because this variant is much more contagious. If the number of infections increase due to this variant, it will be followed by an increase in hospital and ICU admissions.
BEELDTEKST: Do the tests detect the Omicron variant?
CHANTAL REUSKEN: The tests available in the Netherlands, including those used in the test lanes, the antigen tests and PCR tests, but also the self-tests, all detect the Omicron variant just as well as the Delta variant.
BEELDTEKST: How effective are the vaccines against the Omicron variant?
CHANTAL REUSKEN: Research shows that a previous infection or completed vaccination series provides significantly less protection against infection with the Omicron variant than against the Delta variant. That makes it extra important to get a booster vaccination. The booster vaccination gives an extra ‘boost’ to your immune system, so you will be much less likely to get the Omicron variant.
BEELDTEKST: Would you like to know more? rivm.nl/en/covid-19
An RIVM production, (c) December 2021