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Is Omicron More Dangerous Than the Delta Variant?

With the emergence of a new variant SARS-CoV-2 B.1.1.529 from South Africa, the world and scientific community seems quite perplexed once again. The World Health Organization named the new variant “Omicron” and designated it as the Variant of Concern. Moreover, the World Health Organization and the preliminary data say that the variant is more dangerous than the Delta variant. According to the initial reports, the Omicron variant has more mutations than the Delta variant. The exact picture of the new variant is yet to come and based on initial reports, let’s compare the Omicron variant with the Delta variant:


  • The Delta Variant 

The Delta variant was first reported in December 2020 from India. The variant spread rapidly throughout India and is considered a fast-growing variant in the United States. Yale Medicine considers the Delta variant a predominant variant that counts for about 99% of COVID-19 cases.

  • The Omicron  Variant

 The variant was first detected on November-11, 2021 in Botswana and then in South Africa. Since then, the two states have witnessed a significant increase in the number of COVID-19 cases. Until mid of November, South Africa reported 250 COVID-19 cases per day but now there are more than 8000 cases per day in the country.


  • The Delta variant

The Delta variant has about 18 mutations and of which  9 are in its spike protein.  The Office for National Statistics of the United Kingdom says that the difference between Delta variant and Omicron Variant can be identified by the patterns among three genes Viz the S gene, the ORF1ab gene, and the N gene. Moreover, Delta infections usually test positive for all three genes.

  • The Omicron Variant

As compared to other SARS-CoV-2 variants, the Omicron variant has the most mutations. According to the researchers, the Omicron variant has about 43 aa mutations in its spike protein. Prof Claudia Alteri who teaches clinical microbiology at Milan State University and researcher Bambino Gesu says that the virus is now more adapted to the human species by generating another variant. However, Robert Garry who studies virology at Tulane University says that the higher mutations don’t indicate that the mutations are more dangerous.  Moreover, the Omicron variant tests negative for the S gene.

How contagious are they?

  • The Delta Variant

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention says that as compared to the other earlier variants, the Delta variant was more infectious. Moreover, the Delta variant had a shorter incubation period (4 days) than previous variants which means that people became infectious more rapidly.

  • The Omicron Variant

According to the World Health Organization and many South African researchers, the Omicron variant is more transmissible and spreads faster than other variants.  Initial reports report the reproduction rate of 2 for the Omicron variant which means that a person infected with the Omicron variant can transmit it to two other persons.

How severe is illness?

  • The Delta Variant

According to the study reports that people infected with Delta variant were at double risk of hospitalization due to their illness as compared to if they had been infected with the Alpha variant earlier.

  • The Omicron Variant

The World Health Organization says that it is too early to say about illness caused by Omicron as the full picture is yet to emerge. However, according to the early study reports from South Africa, the Omicron variant reports milder illness than the Delta variant. Out of 42 patients admitted in Steve Biko and District Hospital Complex Pretoria on December 02, 2021, only nine were in the COVID ward and needed oxygen. However, researchers say in case of increased hospitalizations, even higher levels of mild illness could be challenging.

Vaccine escape

  • The Delta Variant

According to the study report published earlier, two doses of either Oxford or Pfizer jabs at least ensure the same kind of protection as having had COVID-19 before. While the United Kingdom`s Office for National Statistics says that two doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech or Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine were 92-95 % effective against the hospitalizations caused due to the Delta variant.

  • The Omicron Variant

It is yet to be seen that whether the vaccine will prove effective for the people who are exposed to the Omicron variant. However, Executive Director, WHO Health Emergencies Program, Dr, Michael Ryan has stressed continuing the vaccination to protect against severe illness.  Alex Sigal who is a researcher says that to keep ourselves safe, booster shots could play an effective role. Prof Cyrill Bollinger who teaches medicine at The  Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine believes that being fully vaccinated along with taking booster shots will help to reduce hospitalizations and deaths.           

Global Response

  • The Delta variant

The Delta variant which was reported in December 2020 in India, resulted in record fatalities due to its sudden breakout and unpreparedness in fighting the variant.  The cases increased gradually in April 2021 and reached an all-time high in May 2021 with the majority of unvaccinated people.

  • The Omicron Variant

As per the initial reports, no causality has been reported due to the Omicron variant. The WHO reacted swiftly and designated the Omicron variant as Variant of Concern (VoC) on November 26, 2021. Many countries switched back to restrictions mode and banned flights from South Africa and other countries where the cases of the Omicron cases have been reported.


To get more insights about COVID-19 infection, its  different variants, home remedies, and diet plan for COVID-19 infection, reach out to our Ayurvedic expert on Whatsapp at +91 7743002591 for free.

About Dr. Ranjana Kaushal

Dr. Ranjana Kaushal (MD Ayurveda) has 11 years of experience in the field of Ayurveda. Right now she is working as an Ayurveda consultant with Life Aveda. She has immense knowledge about herbs, their uses, and formulations. She has published articles related to many herbs and diseases in an international journal. She is also a degree holder in yoga and naturopathy. Read More..

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