Omicron-related COVID-19 more harmful than influenza: Top expert
The Omicron variant has stronger transmissibility and is more harmful to human than influenza, Liang Wannian, head of the expert team on COVID-19 response and disposal at the National Health Commission, said during an interview with China Media Group.
The expert added that it's too early to consider COVID-19 caused by Omicron as "more severe influenza".
In terms of the prevention and control of Omicron, the expert said the key is to cut the chain of transmission as quickly as possible, strengthen the monitoring of key groups, places, institutions, and implement measures for early detection.
The most difficult part of implementing 'dynamic zero-COVID' policy
Liang said there are two meanings behind the "dynamic zero-COVID" policy.
"Firstly, and ideally, there is no case in the society, but the uniqueness of the coronavirus determines that we cannot achieve it for now."
The second meaning is being able to identify cases quickly, and cut off the transmission chain once an epidemic occur.
"If we don't pursue the goal of 'dynamic zero-COVID', the transmission will occur consistently, leading to large-scale rebound," he said.
The most difficult part of "dynamic zero-COVID" is to implement the prevention and control measures accurately to strike a balance between epidemic prevention and control and people's daily productivity and life, Liang said, emphasizing that China will persist in the "dynamic zero-COVID" policy.
Self-test kits to complement with nucleic acid tests
Multiple kinds of COVID-19 antigen self-test kits have been approved by Chinese regulators for public use since March 11. Liang said effective complement between antigen self-test kits and nucleic acid tests is conducive to improving the "early detection" of COVID-19 cases.
"Nucleic acid tests have better sensitivity, so they are more accurate than antigen tests," he said. "However, nucleic acid tests have to be done in certain facilities by medical personnel, which is sometimes difficult to carry out."
"Antigen self-test kits can make up for the deficiency in this respect, but it's less sensitive… the accuracy lower than nucleic acid tests," the expert said. "If we combine the two methods, let them complement each other, we can greatly improve the efficiency of the detection of infection source and potential infection source."