Rev Assoc Med Bras (1992). 2022 Nov 21;68(10):1476-1480. doi: 10.1590/1806-9282.20220880. eCollection 2022.
OBJECTIVE: This study aimed to investigate the effect of mutations by comparing wild-type SARS-CoV-2 and Omicron regarding clinical features in patients with COVID-19. It also aimed to assess whether SARS-CoV-2 cycle threshold value could predict COVID-19 severity.
METHODS: A total of 960 wild-type and 411 Omicron variant patients with positive results in SARS-CoV-2 real-time reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction test from oropharyngeal and/or nasopharyngeal samples during their hospital admissions were included in this retrospective study. The reference symptoms of the patients were obtained from the hospital database. The correlation between chest computed tomography findings and the “cycle threshold” of patients with wild-type SARS-CoV-2 was assessed.
RESULTS: Cough, fever, shortness of breath, loss of taste and smell, and diarrhea were found to be statistically significantly higher (p=0.001; 0.001; 0.001; 0.001; and 0.006; respectively) in the wild-type cohort, while in the Omicron cohort, sore throat and headache were found to be statistically significantly higher (p=0.001 and 0.003, respectively). An inverse relationship was found between chest computed tomography findings and viral load.
CONCLUSION: This study revealed that the Omicron variant tended to infect predominantly the upper respiratory tract and showed decreased lung infectivity, and the disease progressed with a milder clinical course. Therefore, the study showed that the tropism of the virus was changed and the viral phenotype was affected. It was also found that SARS-CoV-2 viral load did not predict COVID-19 severity in patients with wild-type SARS-CoV-2.