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No way to distinguish Omicron cases from Delta, say US doctors

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World

US: Amid rising concerns over a fresh surge in COVID-19 cases, doctors in the United States are faced with a peculiar conundrum – they have no ready way of determining which variant of the coronavirus a person is carrying. This is especially troublesome because a high-risk patient infected with the Delta variant would greatly benefit from two particular monoclonal antibody treatments, while they would do little to nothing for a patient infected with the new, highly transmissible Omicron variant – which requires a third antibody treatment.

Faced with this issue, even federal health authorities are struggling to make decisions for the entire nation in the backdrop of uncertain estimates over the scope of each variant and the extent to which they are dominant in certain regions.

Elaborating on the matter, a report by The New York Times states that the two antibody treatments that Delta-infected patients benefit from are the drugs made by Regeneron and Eli Lilly, while patients infected predominantly with the Omicron variant would greatly benefit from the antibody drugs manufactured by GlaxoSmithKline and Vir Biotechnology.

Now, the problem arises in the fact that there actually is no approved test to determine the coronavirus variant with which each individual is infected: a national network of state and other labs in the US use genome-sequencing tests to track variants broadly in communities. Health authorities then use those “regional estimates” to decide which antibody treatments to use in clinics and hospitals. A system that is based on frail estimates is bound to show cracks, and such is evident in the fact that federal officials on December 23 stopped shipments of the antibody treatments for Delta infections after the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said that 73 per cent of all COVID-19 cases in the country were arising out of the Omicron variant.

– THE HINDUSTAN TIMES

Wednesday, January 5, 2022 – 01:00











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