Local expert expects Omicron variant to evolve into mild coronavirus similar to common cold


22nd January 2022 – (Hong Kong) The latest research from the Department of Microbiology of the University of Hong Kong found that the virus replication ability and pathogenicity of the Omicron variant virus are lower than other new coronavirus variants. Yuen Kwok-yung, chair professor of the Department of Microbiology of the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Hong Kong, who is in charge of the research, said that the results showed that the human body stimulates the immune system to fight the virus due to vaccines or infections, and thus oppresses the new coronavirus gene variant which tries to evade the human immune system. The gene mutation also reduces the virus’s lung reproduction efficiency.

He hopes the Omicron variant will follow the evolutionary trajectory and turns into a mild coronavirus that only causes the common cold. The research paper has been published in the internationally renowned academic journal “Nature”. The research team used a series of cell and mouse models to understand the replication ability and pathogenicity of Omicron virus in cells. In the experiment, the replication amount of Omicron live virus is lower than the original strain, Alpha, Beta and Delta. Omicron replicates more than 3-fold less efficiently in human lung epithelial cells.