Researchers report a reduction in hospitalizations and deaths from SARS-CoV-2 infections during the Omicron variant-dominated wave in Malawi

Researchers report a reduction in hospitalizations and deaths from SARS-CoV-2 infections during the Omicron variant-dominated wave in Malawi

In a latest examine revealed in eClinicalMedicine, researchers performed a serosurvey throughout the extreme acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) Omicron wave in Malawi.

Study: Omicron B.1.1.529 variant infections associated with severe disease are uncommon in a COVID-19 under-vaccinated, high SARS-CoV-2 seroprevalence population in Malawi. Image Credit: Yaw Niel/Shutterstock
Research: Omicron B.1.1.529 variant infections related to extreme illness are unusual in a COVID-19 under-vaccinated, excessive SARS-CoV-2 seroprevalence inhabitants in Malawi. Picture Credit score: Yaw Niel/Shutterstock


The SARS-CoV-2 Omicron variant was first reported in November 2021 in South Africa and was liable for greater than 90% of latest coronavirus illness 2019 (COVID-19) circumstances inside 25 days. The assault fee of SARS-CoV-2 Omicron is four-fold greater than that of the wild-type pressure. Genomic sequencing revealed a excessive variety of mutations, with a majority throughout the spike protein. The trajectory of the COVID-19 pandemic in Malawi has carefully adopted that of South Africa.

Malawi has recorded a number of COVID-19 waves because of the SARS-CoV-2 Beta, Delta, and Omicron variants. The nation has reported greater than 84,000 COVID-19 circumstances, together with over 2500 deaths, with nationwide COVID-19 vaccination protection of 22% in eligible adults by January 2022. Nonetheless, a examine reported excessive seropositivity by July 2021, suggestive of in depth group transmission.

In regards to the examine

Within the current examine, researchers estimated the seroprevalence of SARS-CoV-2 in seven districts throughout Malawi. People aged 5 or older had been eligible for inclusion from December 27, 2021, to January 17, 2022. A normal COVID-19 screening device was leveraged to acquire data on demographics, socioeconomic standing, COVID-19 vaccination standing, and power diseases.

Peripheral venous blood specimens had been collected from members. Antibodies had been measured towards the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein’s receptor-binding area (RBD) utilizing the WANTAI SARS-CoV-2 complete antibody enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) equipment. A multiplexed Meso Scale Discovery (MSD) assay for antibodies towards spike, nucleocapsid, and RBD was used for affirmation.

Knowledge on each day COVID-19 case rely, hospitalizations, and mortality had been accessed from the Public Well being Institute of Malawi. COVID-19 circumstances included symptomatic and asymptomatic SARS-CoV-2 infections confirmed by a nucleic acid amplification or fast antigen take a look at. Hospitalizations included admissions for COVID-19 and different diseases the place COVID-19 was recognized on account of routine screening.

Seropositivity was estimated, and seroprevalence was adjusted for the sensitivity and specificity of every assay. Fisher’s actual or chi-squared take a look at was used to estimate the proportion of topics by the variety of vaccine doses obtained. Multivariable logistic regression was carried out to establish elements related to SARS-CoV-2 seropositivity.  


Total, 4,639 people had been chosen from 1415 households. Amongst these, most members had been aged 18-57 (60%) and females (57%). Round 8% of members had power diseases. The seroprevalence of SARS-CoV-2 antibodies was 83.7% after adjusting for the assays’ sensitivity and specificity. This was heterogeneous throughout districts starting from 77.4% to 91.4%.

City populations had been extra more likely to be seropositive than rural populations. Males had been much less more likely to take a look at seropositive than females. Seroprevalence estimates weren’t a lot completely different amongst people aged 13 or above. COVID-19-vaccinated people had been extra more likely to be seropositive than non-vaccinated members. Seroprevalence was greater amongst members who accomplished secondary/tertiary training than those that accomplished major training.

Round 12% of members had been partially vaccinated, and 11% obtained two vaccine doses. Vaccination protection and the proportion of two-dose recipients had been greater amongst members aged 51 or older than these aged 18 – 50. City areas had extra double-vaccinated people than rural areas.

The each day incidence of COVID-19 circumstances elevated and declined extra quickly throughout the Omicron wave than within the Delta interval. The variety of confirmed circumstances was 13,300 throughout the Delta wave and 14,298 within the Omicron wave. The proportions of hospitalizations and deaths had been two- and three-fold decrease within the Omicron wave than within the Delta interval.


The researchers noticed a excessive SARS-CoV-2 seropositivity (83.7%) within the Malawian inhabitants throughout the Omicron wave. The excessive seroprevalence was primarily on account of prior an infection with SARS-CoV-2, given the low vaccination protection. Roughly 77% of the seropositive members weren’t vaccinated for COVID-19. Furthermore, there was proof of decrease hospitalization and mortality charges within the Omicron interval than within the Delta wave.

The lower in extreme COVID-19 problems (hospitalizations/deaths) throughout the Omicron wave in a rustic with excessive seroprevalence and low vaccination protection may very well be a turning level within the pandemic. Nonetheless, the variety of preventable deaths is important and extra efforts are required to establish and defend at-risk people. As such, the present mass vaccination coverage could also be modified to focus on populations on the highest threat of COVID-19 in resource-constrained settings like Malawi.

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