Promising new data has revealed people who are infected with the Omicron strain of coronavirus could be better protected against the more severe Delta variant. 

A study conducted by scientists in South Africa found contracting the latest variant can develop an enhanced immunity against the Delta strain of Covid-19. 

While Omicron is roughly twice as transmissible as other strains, so far evidence has revealed the infection is less severe causing less hospitalisations or ICU admissions.  

NSW Chief Health Officer Kerry Chant recently revealed Omicron holds a risk of hospitalisation almost 60 per cent to 80 per cent less than the Delta variant.  

The encouraging data was collected from 33 unvaccinated and vaccinated South Africans who had become infected with the Omicron strain. 

It is likely to be very welcome news for Australian health officials, with Omicron now thought to make up the majority of NSW’s new cases, as well as many cases in other states and territories.  

Promising new data has revealed people who are infected with the Omicron strain of coronavirus could be better protected against the more severe Delta variant (pictured, Sydneysiders celebrate Christmas Eve in the city)

Promising new data has revealed people who are infected with the Omicron strain of coronavirus could be better protected against the more severe Delta variant (pictured, Sydneysiders celebrate Christmas Eve in the city)

Promising new data has revealed people who are infected with the Omicron strain of coronavirus could be better protected against the more severe Delta variant (pictured, Sydneysiders celebrate Christmas Eve in the city)

Results of the study showed that after two weeks, neutralisation of the Omicron variant increased 14-fold for patients 

The results also showed there was a 4.4 fold increase of Delta virus neutralisation, with vaccinated people developing an even better immunity. 

‘The increase in Delta variant neutralisation in individuals infected with Omicron may result in decreased ability of Delta to re-infect those individuals,’ the study revealed. 

Alex Sigal, a professor at the Africa Health Research Institute in South Africa, stated that if Omicron was less likely to cause disease it will reduce the spread of Delta. 

‘The increase neutralising immunity against Omicron was expected – that is the virus these individuals were infected with,’ Mr Signal tweeted. 

‘However, we also saw that the same people – especially those who were vaccinated – developed enhanced immunity to the Delta variant.

‘If, as it currently looks like from the South African experience, Omicron is less pathogenic, then this will help push Delta out, as it should decrease the likelihood that someone infected with Omicron will get re-infected with Delta,’ he tweeted. 

‘If that’s true, then the disruption Covid-19 has caused in our lives may become less.’

NSW Chief Health Officer Kerry Chant recently revealed Omicron holds a risk of hospitalisation almost 60 per cent to 80 per cent less than the Delta variant (pictured, ICU staff at St Vincent's Hospital in Sydney)

NSW Chief Health Officer Kerry Chant recently revealed Omicron holds a risk of hospitalisation almost 60 per cent to 80 per cent less than the Delta variant (pictured, ICU staff at St Vincent's Hospital in Sydney)

NSW Chief Health Officer Kerry Chant recently revealed Omicron holds a risk of hospitalisation almost 60 per cent to 80 per cent less than the Delta variant (pictured, ICU staff at St Vincent’s Hospital in Sydney)

A study conducted by scientists in South Africa found contracting the latest variant can develop an enhanced immunity against the Delta strain of Covid-19 (pictured, a woman being vaccinated in Sydney)

A study conducted by scientists in South Africa found contracting the latest variant can develop an enhanced immunity against the Delta strain of Covid-19 (pictured, a woman being vaccinated in Sydney)

A study conducted by scientists in South Africa found contracting the latest variant can develop an enhanced immunity against the Delta strain of Covid-19 (pictured, a woman being vaccinated in Sydney)

Mr Signal added that getting vaccinated, wearing masks and other preventative measures would still be necessary, and said other variants will come. 

The hopeful results comes just days after the first major study into Omicron in Australia revealed the new variant is responsible for very few hospitalisations with the majority of admissions unvaccinated.

NSW Health released data on who is actually sick with Covid even as cases surge, finding Delta is responsible for most of the state’s severe cases.

Most of the patients being treated in intensive care are unvaccinated, many with underlying health conditions.

NSW Health released data on who is actually sick with Covid even as cases surge, finding Delta is responsible for most of the state's severe cases (pictured, a woman is vaccinated in Melbourne)

NSW Health released data on who is actually sick with Covid even as cases surge, finding Delta is responsible for most of the state's severe cases (pictured, a woman is vaccinated in Melbourne)

NSW Health released data on who is actually sick with Covid even as cases surge, finding Delta is responsible for most of the state’s severe cases (pictured, a woman is vaccinated in Melbourne)

Only one patient has died with Omicron in Australia, a man in his 80s with underlying health conditions who caught it in his Sydney nursing home.

However, Dr Chant warned due to the increased transmissibility of the virus, it was possible more patients would be needing medical care. 

The issue is the increased transmissibility, leading to high case numbers,’ she said during a press conference on Thursday. 

‘And the impact this is having on vulnerable settings, vulnerable people and critical workforces. Such as our health and aged care workforce.

‘And also it’s important to remember that more cases across the population can lead to hospitalisations, you can see higher hospitalisations overall.’

Residents have been urged to get vaccinated and book in for booster shots as the NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard urged people to live their lives as normal

Residents have been urged to get vaccinated and book in for booster shots as the NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard urged people to live their lives as normal

Residents have been urged to get vaccinated and book in for booster shots as the NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard urged people to live their lives as normal

Residents have been urged to get vaccinated and book in for booster shots as the NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard urged people to live their lives as normal. 

‘Everybody in NSW is probably going to get Omicron at some stage. Everyone in Australia,’ NSW Health minister Brad Hazzard said.

‘From early indications NSW Health believe the majority of ICU Covid patients have the Delta variant. Health are seeking to confirm this through additional tests.’

NSW recorded 6,062 new Covid-19 cases following a disastrous testing bungle and one death, with 557 patients in hospital, up from 521 on Monday. 

There are 60 patients receiving care in ICU, another slight jump from the 55 in intensive care the day previous.   

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