Risk of DUAL infection from Omicron and Delta in the near future, top vaccine boss warns

THERE is a very real risk of getting a "duel infection" from both Omicron and Delta, a top vaccine boss has warned today.

Dr Paul Burton, chief medical officer for Moderna, said: "In the near future these two viruses are going to coexists."

He made the warning as he spoke to the Science and Technology Committee this morning.

He added: "Omicron is going to infect people with a very strong background of Delta.

"I think Omicron poses a real threat – the doubling time at three days is far faster than we've seen.

"People can harbor both viruses, and that could be possible here. it certainly could be [much worse].

"It give an opportunity for the two viruses could share genes and swap genes over."

It's not clear if this would make any infection worse but could certainly cause potential opportunities for each variant to develop further, Dr Burton warned.

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Although it is rare, this has happened before in the pandemic.

A 90-year-old woman in Belgium caught both Alpha and Beta variants at the same time.

She had not been vaccinated and doctors suspected she had contracted the dual viruses from two different people, before she died.

Today Dr Susan Hopkins, head of UKHSA, told the committee: "We are now seeing that just over 44 per cent of cases in London are Omicron, in those that have been tested for the S gene.

"We are seeing increases in the total number of cases in London.

"London has doubled its number of cases in the last four weeks.

"We expect to see Omicron displace Delta there but they are going to co exist together in other places for longer."

She also warned: "In less than three weeks from when we've identified to the first case, we are seeing reinfections and higher rates of reinfections in Omicron compared to Delta with a rate of three to eight times the reinfection risk for Omicron compared to what we've seen with Delta."

South African experts have reported patients who were infected with Delta are more likely to be re-infected with Omicron, Dr Hopkins said.


But she hailed the importance of boosters – with the latest data showing they provide good protections against catching Omicron.

In new data from Sage, the group that advises the Government, it is estimated two Covid jabs should slash the risk of dying from Omicron by up to 84 per cent.

But the models also showed the chance of simply catching the virus and falling ill is twice reduced if you have a booster too.

The latest data revealed boosters offer up to 75 per cent protection from mild infection from Omicron.

UKHSA figures showed immunity from two doses of AstraZeneca was close to zero after six months, but a third dose with Pfizer saw protection from the super-strain rocket as high as 70 per cent.

Yesterday it was revealed a patient who had been rushed to hospital with Omicron had died, and ten other patients are currently still in English hospitals with the variant.

Brits are scrambling to get coronavirus tests today with both lateral flow tests and PCRs experiencing supply issues.

People wanting to book a walk-in PCR test in England have been met with disappointment as there are no slots available in some areas.

And keen to get protected, so many Brits tried to book a vaccine yesterday that the Government website crashed.

More than 600,000 slots were believed to have been snapped up, with 15 bookings per second at its peak.

People waited for up to six hours in long snaking queues outside walk-in vaccination centres.

Even with full protection, as cases rise and we near Christmas, it's still advised to wear masks, keep washing hands and keep windows open for ventilation.

The Sun's Jab's Army has urged Brits to come forward and have their life-saving Covid shot, with volunteers also needed to drive the rollout.

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