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Characteristics and Outcomes of Hospitalized Patients in South Africa During the COVID-19 Omicron Wave Compared With Previous Waves

Educational Objective
To identify the key insights or developments described in this article

On November 24, 2021, a SARS-CoV-2 variant of concern, Omicron (B.1.1.529), was identified in South Africa as responsible for a fourth wave of COVID-19.1,2 The high number of spike mutations has raised concerns about its ability to evade vaccine and spread.3,4 We assessed hospitalized patients with a positive SARS-CoV-2 test result during the fourth wave compared with previous waves.

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Article Information

Corresponding Author: Caroline Maslo, MD, PhD, Netcare, 76 Maude St, Sandton 2196, Johannesburg, South Africa (caroline.maslo@netcare.co.za).

Accepted for Publication: December 27, 2021.

Published Online: December 30, 2021. doi:10.1001/jama.2021.24868

Author Contributions: Dr Maslo and Ms Kama had full access to all of the data in the study and take responsibility for the integrity of the data and the accuracy of the data analysis.

Concept and design: Maslo, Friedland.

Acquisition, analysis, or interpretation of data: All authors.

Drafting of the manuscript: Maslo, Friedland.

Critical revision of the manuscript for important intellectual content: All authors.

Statistical analysis: Maslo, Akaloo.

Administrative, technical, or material support: Laubscher, Toubkin, Kama.

Supervision: Maslo, Friedland, Laubscher.

Conflict of Interest Disclosures: None reported.

References
1.
New COVID-19 variant detected in South Africa. National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD). Accessed December 20, 2021. https://www.nicd.ac.za/new-covid-19-variant-detected-in-south-africa/
2.
Classification of Omicron (B.1.1.529) SARS-CoV-2 variant of concern. Accessed December 20, 2021. https://www.who.int/news/item/26-11-2021-classification-of-omicron-(b.1.1.529)-sars-cov-2-variant-of-concern
3.
Update on Omicron. Accessed December 20, 2021. https://www.who.int/news/item/28-11-2021-update-on-omicron
4.
Network for Genomic Surveillance in South Africa (NGS-SA). SARS-CoV-2 sequencing update. December 17, 2021. Accessed December 20, 2021. https://www.nicd.ac.za/wp-content/uploads/2021/12/Update-of-SA-sequencing-data-from-GISAID-17-Dec-21_Final.pdf
5.
Latest vaccine statistics. Department of Health, Republic of South Africa. Accessed December 20, 2021. https://sacoronavirus.co.za/latest-vaccine-statistics/
6.
Kleynhans  J , Tempia  S , Wolter  N ,  et al; PHIRST-C Group.  SARS-CoV-2 seroprevalence in a rural and urban household cohort during first and second waves of infections, South Africa, July 2020-March 2021.   Emerg Infect Dis. 2021;27(12):3020-3029. doi:10.3201/eid2712.211465PubMedGoogle ScholarCrossref
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