Patients with the Omicron Covid-19 variant with “very mild” symptoms: a South African doctor


A South African doctor who was one of the first to suspect a different strain of coronavirus among patients said on Sunday that symptoms of the Omicron variant have so far been mild and can be treated at home.

Dr Angelique Coetzee, a private practitioner and president of the South African Medical Association, told Reuters that on November 18, she noticed seven patients in her clinic who had symptoms different from the dominant Delta variant, although “very light “.

Now designated Omicron by the World Health Organization, the variant was detected and announced by the South African National Institute of Communicable Diseases (NICD) on November 25 from samples taken at a laboratory November 14-16. .

Coetzee said a patient told her clinic on Nov. 18 that she had been “extremely tired” for two days with aches and headaches.

“The symptoms at this point were very much related to a normal viral infection. And because we haven’t seen COVID-19 in the past eight to 10 weeks, we decided to test,” she said. , adding that the patient and his family have been found to be positive.

That same day, more patients arrived with similar symptoms, which is when she realized that “something else” was going on. Since then, she has seen two to three patients per day.

“We saw a lot of Delta patients during the third wave. And that doesn’t match the clinical picture,” she said, adding that she alerted the NICD the same day with the clinical results.

“Most of them have very, very mild symptoms and none of them have so far admitted patients for surgery. We were able to treat these patients conservatively at home,” he said. she declared.

Coetzee, who is also on the Ministerial Vaccine Advisory Committee, said that unlike the Delta, so far patients have not reported loss of smell or taste and there has been no no major drop in oxygen levels with the new variant.

His experience so far has been that the variant affects people 40 years of age or younger. Almost half of the patients with symptoms of Omicron she treated were not vaccinated.

“The most predominant clinical complaint is severe fatigue for one or two days. With them, headache and aches and pain.”

News of the new variant emerging from South Africa prompted a swift reaction from several countries, including Britain, which on Friday imposed a travel ban on several southern African countries with immediate effect, a move the South Africa strongly contested. Read more

Since Friday, many countries have also banned air travel to and from South Africa, including the United States, other European countries and some Asian countries.