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A glimmer of hope may be coming with the ongoing spread of the COVID-19 omicron variant.

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The New York Times reported that studies of the variant on mice and hamsters have shown that omicron is not damaging lungs to the same extent as the other versions have.

Omicron mostly stayed in the nose, throat and windpipe, the newspaper reported.

“It’s fair to say that the idea of a disease that manifests itself primarily in the upper respiratory system is emerging,” Roland Eils, a computational biologist at the Berlin Institute of Health, told the Times.

Scientists have been infecting cells in petri dishes and have been spraying the omicron variant directly into the noses of animals, in dozens of research facilities.

Results are indicating that omicron is not as strong as the delta variant.

Not only did the omicron variant not produce as much lung damage as other COVID-19 variants, but studies also showed that animals did not lose as much weight and were less likely to die.

Researchers also found a smaller amount of the virus in the noses of the more than 100 mice used in one of the studies, The Hill reported.

Scientists made the note that omicron is still more transmissible, but seems to be milder due to immunity attributed to either vaccination or prior infection, The Hill reported.

A preprinted version of the study can be read at In Review.

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