Jerusalem: The Omicron subvariants may burn themselves out in the next couple of months and there could be another outbreak of Delta or a different coronavirus strain this summer, according to a modelling study conducted in Israel. The findings, published last week in the journal Science of the Total Environment, suggest that while Delta wiped out the variants that preceded it, Omicron has not eliminated the deadly variant which could re-emerge. Researchers from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) in Israel developed sensitive arrays that can differentiate variants from each other in wastewater which continues to give indications of where the coronavirus is active, even when PCR and rapid testing of people declines.
They monitored sewage in Beer-Sheva city of Israel from December 2021 to January 2022 and noticed a “disturbing interaction” between the Omicron and Delta variants.
The researchers also built a model which predicts that Omicron is burning itself out while Delta is just biding its time.
Of course, there are a lot of factors involved, but our model indicates there could be another outbreak of Delta or another coronavirus variant this summer, said Professor Ariel Kushmaro from BGU in a statement.
Until now, the researchers said, whenever a new, dominant, variant appeared, it overpowered its predecessor after a short parallel period.
However, in contrast to the expected dynamics whereupon the Delta variant diminishes as Omicron variant increases, results received from wastewater detection indicated a cryptic circulation of Delta even with the increased levels of Omicron, they said.
According to the developed model, it can be expected that the Omicron levels will decrease until eliminated, while Delta variant will maintain its cryptic circulation, the authors of the study noted.
“If this comes to pass, the mentioned cryptic circulation may result in the reemergence of a Delta morbidity wave or in the possible generation of a new threatening variant,” they added.
According to the researchers, including Karin Yaniv from BGU, Omicron is spreading swiftly around the world with record morbidity reports.
Unlike the Delta variant, previously considered to be the main variant of concern in most countries, the dynamics of the Omicron variant have shown different characteristics, they said.
The researchers noted that the deployment of wastewater-based epidemiology is recommended as a convenient and representative tool for pandemic containment.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)
NDTV – Dettol have been working towards a clean and healthy India since 2014 via Banega Swachh India initiative, which is helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. The campaign aims to highlight the inter-dependency of humans and the environment, and of humans on one another with the focus on One Health, One Planet, One Future – Leaving No One Behind. It stresses on the need to take care of, and consider, everyone’s health in India – especially vulnerable communities – the LGBTQ population, indigenous people, India’s different tribes, ethnic and linguistic minorities, people with disabilities, migrants, geographically remote populations, gender and sexual minorities. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign will continue to raise awareness on the same along with focussing on the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children, fight malnutrition, mental wellbeing, self care, science and health, adolescent health & gender awareness. Along with the health of people, the campaign has realised the need to also take care of the health of the eco-system. Our environment is fragile due to human activity, that is not only over-exploiting available resources, but also generating immense pollution as a result of using and extracting those resources. The imbalance has also led to immense biodiversity loss that has caused one of the biggest threats to human survival – climate change. It has now been described as a “code red for humanity.” The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollution, waste management, plastic ban, manual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene. Banega Swasth India will also be taking forward the dream of Swasth Bharat, the campaign feels that only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and the country can become a Swasth or healthy India.