Omicron variant Italy, first case in Campania: mild symptoms

He is a 55-year-old business executive who has returned from Mozambique

The Omicron variant arrives in Italy, the first case was identified in Campania. The 55-year-old man vaccinated with 2 doses has few symptoms. Five family members, who would show no symptoms, are in isolation. “The patient and his family contacts are in good health conditions,” said the Higher Institute of Health in a statement. The company manager of the province of Caserta returned from Mozambique in recent days, landed in Milan and tested positive for Covid-19 with a genomic sequence attributable to the variant discovered in South Africa and Botswana.

Variant B.1.1.529 was sequenced by the Clinical Microbiology, Virology and Bioemergency Diagnostic Laboratory of the Sacco hospital in Milan. “The epidemiological investigations were carried out by Ats Milano and the Local Health Authority under the responsibility of the Campania Region. Sequencing has already been scheduled on the samples of the patient’s family contacts who were positive and resident in the Campania region, whose laboratories have been alerted and are already working to obtain genomic results in a short time. At the moment no positive contacts have been identified in Lombardy “, explains the ISS.


Pending more detailed findings, it is hypothesized that the variant may be more contagious than the previous ones. “From the first epidemiological data, the Omicron variant would really seem more contagious than the Delta. At the moment, more than 500 sequences have already been made in the laboratories of South Africa, with which we are in constant contact. Epidemiology tells us that it is supplanting the Delta variant. . Certain information, however, will come from molecular data, both as regards contagiousness and as regards the ability of vaccines to protect. And the analyzes are already underway “, explains Massimo Ciccozzi, head of the Unit of Medical Statistics and Epidemiology of the Faculty of Medicine and Surgery of the Campus Bio-Medico of Rome, already activated on the study of the brand new variant.

According to data from South African laboratories, “in the country, with the Omicron variant, there is an R0 of 1.34. This means that the epidemic is no longer under control. The phenomenon may be linked to the greater contagiousness of the new variant, but other elements must also be taken into account such as the very low percentage of vaccination coverage in the country, about 20%, and the scarce use of anti Covid measures, very far from our standards. It is certain, however, that, at the moment, in South Africa, Omicron runs faster than the Delta “.

In this variant, adds Ciccozzi, “there are all the mutations of the single variants seen so far. All together on the same Spike protein. And, at least on the epidemiological level, Omicron seems to have started a race at the moment”.

Tracking is therefore of greater importance. The Ministry of Health recommends strengthening and monitoring the tracking and sequencing activities in the case of travelers from countries with diffusion of the Omicron variant and their contacts or in cases of outbreaks characterized by rapid and anomalous increase in cases, in addition to promptly and scrupulously apply the already planned quarantine and isolation measures.


“The variant exists but we have to be careful about doing terrorism because we risk undermining people’s trust. People say ‘we have a new variant that breaks vaccines'”. Professor Matteo Bassetti expresses himself in this way after the news relating to the new Omicron variant of the covid. “We are dealing with a variant that has many mutations that we had already seen in previous variants. In addition, the Spike protein, through which our cells are attacked, has also mutated. From South Africa we have information of ‘mild’ cases. being more aggressive, it will probably be more contagious but we have no certainty that the vaccines are punctured “, says the director of the infectious disease clinic of the San Matteo polyclinic in Genoa speaking to In Onda.

“An information short circuit happened: I heard about this variant from the media and not from the scientific community, something happened that shouldn’t happen. The news of the variant reached the public opinion before we doctors knew it,” he adds.

“The bow of science to politics is very serious: until yesterday we called the variants following the Greek alphabet, this should have been called Nu”. But there was a risk of confusion with the English word “new”. “The next letter” Chinese President Xi would have recalled and therefore Omicron was opted for in order not to offend China: “Science should not bow to politics”.