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What is the South African variant called?

The South African variant, also known as 501.V2 or B.1.351, has some significant changes that experts are studying. Is it more dangerous? Some of the changes involve the virus's spike protein - the part that gains the virus entry into human cells.

Is Omicron less severe?

A large preliminary study from South Africa suggested omicron causes less severe disease in adults (but not in children). Another preliminary study from Hong Kong found that omicron replicates less efficiently in the lungs, which could lead to less severe disease.

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