[Excerpt] COPENHAGEN, Jan 3 (Reuters) – The Omicron coronavirus variant is better at circumventing vaccinated peoples’ immunity than the Delta variant, according to a Danish study published last week, helping explain why Omicron is spreading more rapidly.
Since the discovery of the heavily mutated Omicron variant in November, scientists have been racing to find out whether it causes less serious disease and why it appears more contagious than the previously dominating Delta variant.
A virus can be more transmissible due to a number of reasons, such as the time it lingers in the air, its ability to latch onto cells, or its evasion of the body’s immune system.
The study, conducted by researchers at University of Copenhagen, Statistics Denmark and Statens Serum Institut (SSI), suggests the virus is mainly spreading more rapidly because it is better at evading immunity obtained from vaccines.
“Our findings confirm that the rapid spread of the Omicron (variant) primarily can be ascribed to the immune evasiveness rather than an inherent increase in the basic transmissibility,” the researchers said. The study has yet to be peer-reviewed.
The study also found that booster-vaccinated people are less likely to transmit the virus, regardless of the variant, than the unvaccinated.