December 16. The findings, shared by the University of Hong Kong in a press release Wednesday, could provide clues as to why the variant is spreading so quickly.
In the lab, scientists applied Omicron, Delta, or the “original” variant of the coronavirus to tissue taken from two parts of the human respiratory system: the lungs and also the bronchus, tubes that connect the lungs to the windpipe.
Twenty-four hours later, Omicron was found to have replicated about 70 times faster in bronchus tissue than the Delta variant, and around 70 times faster than the “original” variant.
That “may explain” why Omicron seems to be spreading faster than previous variants, the authors of the study said in the press release.