How does Omicron compare to the Delta Variant?
Is it really milder than Delta?
Are there any new symptoms associated with Omicron?
What treatment options and drugs work against the variant and which don't?
Dr Pinank Pandya, Senior intensivist at Jaslok Hospital, joins FIT to answer these questions and help shed some light on what the situation is looking like in the hospitals.
How is Omicron Different from Delta?
"The first thing is that it is more transmissible than the Delta variant," says Dr Pinank Pandya, Senior intensivist at Jaslok Hospital.
"It is approximately ten times more transmissible than the delta variant."Dr Pinank Pandya, Senior intensivist at Jaslok Hospital
Two other observations that Dr Pandya makes are that,
Patients are mostly experiencing mild symptoms.
"In this week or so that we have seen the patients, the patients are not appearing to have major symptoms. They are getting better with symptomatic therapies alone," he says.
Even people who are fully vaccinated are getting infected.
Dr Pandya also goes on to say that another point of difference is in the symptoms. While there are some common symptoms like fever and cough, he says, "there is no breathlessness that we're seeing this time."
Some of the symptoms that weren't associated with COVID-19, that they are seeing now are,
Nasal heaviness or blockage
Treatment Options: The Dos and Don'ts
Dr Pandya goes on to talk about some drugs which were being used to treat COVID in the second and first waves, but are no longer being prescribed due to a lack of data to support their effectiveness in fighting the viral infection.
Some of the drugs he listed are,
Speaking of the Merck's COVID-19 pill, Molnupiravir, he says, "these are also approved only for patients with mild and moderate symptoms and they come with alot of side effects, so we have to take it with a pinch of salt."
"The treatment largely remains symptomatic. The main thing will be isolation because it is rapidly transmissible," he adds.