Wednesday, December 7, 2022

Hospital data shows Omicron can infect lungs: Iranian official

A senior Iranian health official says observations show the Omicron strain of the coronavirus is able to infect the lungs as well, although it mainly affects the upper respiratory tract.

Alireza Zali, the director of the Tehran Coronavirus Taskforce, said Wednesday that there are currently cases among the hospitalized COVID-19 patients that are suffering from infection in the lungs as a result of Omicron.

He said Omicron usually manifests itself by flu-like symptoms since the virus replicates primarily in the upper part of the respiratory system and tends to be less sticky in the lung tissue compared to the previous variants.

The assumptions, however, that Omicron does not affect the lungs at all are wrong, said the official.

Studies abroad and at home suggest that the lungs could be infected in the course of infection with Omicron, especially if there is a heavy load of virus in the airways, Zali said.

The Omicron variant spreads more easily than the original virus that causes COVID-19 and the Delta variant.

Preliminary data suggests that Omicron may cause more mild disease, although some people may still have severe disease, need hospitalization, and could die from the infection with this variant.

In Iran and many other countries around the world, Omicron has rapidly surged past other variants to become the dominant strain.

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