The Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) has published two reviews on the impact of Omicron it has submitted to the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET).

HIQA has updated its rolling reviews on the Omicron variant, including a review of international public health guidance, and a summary of agency assessments of the evidence in relation to Omicron.

The reviews which cover infection control measures adopted in European countries examined

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factors relating to the impact of the Omicron variant, including; assessments of transmission and transmissibility, severity of infection, the ability of Omicron to escape immunity, and the effectiveness of existing vaccines, treatments, and tests.

Overall, international assessments expressed concern regarding the rapid growth of Omicron and the potential impact on hospital capacity. However, several agencies noted that Omicron appears to be associated with a less severe clinical picture than Delta, though this early evidence was acknowledged to be highly uncertain.

Dr Máirín Ryan, HIQA’s Director of Health Technology Assessment (pictured), said: “Since the identification of the Omicron variant in late November, new evidence and information has rapidly been released and policy and guidance internationally has been evolving at a similar rate. In general, international agency assessments of the risks associated with Omicron are consistent with our concerns in Ireland, with similarities in the public health guidance that has been issued in response to Omicron.”

HIQA will continue to review guidance relating to the Omicron variant.

You can find the reports on HIQA’s website, www.hiqa.ie.

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