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Vast Majority of New Covid Cases Linked to Omicron Variant According to Private Lab

Júlia Tar 2022.01.04.

In the last evaluation by Neumann Labs, the largest private laboratory in Hungary, 78 percent of the new positive cases of coronavirus were caused by the omicron variant.

As we have reported, the omicron variant of the coronavirus appeared in Hungary on December 13. Miklós Nyíri, CEO of Neumann Labs, forecasted that just like in several Western European countries, the omicron variant would progress at previously unimaginable speeds in Hungary too.

In the week and a half following the appearance of the variant, 20 out of 93 samples at Neumann Labs were omicron, and there were a few that were most likely the same variant as well. This means that before Christmas, based on their samples, one in four new infections detected in Hungary were likely to be caused by omicron.

As Telex reports, Neumann Labs published new data on December 28, showing that the prevalence of omicron in the positive samples they received which were also tested for variants, had already reached 60% after Christmas, which means that by then this coronavirus variant might have already become dominant in Hungary.

Now the laboratory said that 283 cases of omicron have been detected in their laboratory so far, adding that based on their current data, 78 percent of the recent positive cases of coronavirus are caused by the omicron variant.

Rise of Omicron in Hungary May Be Faster Than Official Reports Suggest
Rise of Omicron in Hungary May Be Faster Than Official Reports Suggest

Officially, 15 cases of omicron have been identified so far at the National Center for Public Health laboratory, but the private lab that found the first omicron case in Hungary, now says the strain is detected in at least 1 out of 4 new infected samples.Continue reading

However, on the website of koronavirus.gov.hu, it still states that the National Public Health Center (NNK) laboratory has found that omicron mutations are responsible for more than 11% of new infections in Hungary, based on samples tested for variants, which shows that the official data provided is lagging behind and is much slower than the spread of omicron in Hungary.

The fast-spreading omicron variant of the coronavirus appears to be less able to infect the lungs, so fewer severe pneumonia cases are expected, or at least fewer in the proportion of infections. However, the law of large numbers means that more serious illnesses can still be expected: experts warn that the omicron wave could overwhelm the healthcare system even though the average vaccinated person could get away with a milder illness at home, Telex writes. Moreover, it is still possible to be infected with the coronavirus, be it omicron or another variant, and the flu at the same time.

Featured photo illustration by MTI/AP/Jerome Delay