First Omicron data points to Covid re-infection risk
Scientists in South Africa have identified a spike in the numbers catching Covid again.
We already know the variant is heavily mutated andofficials in South Africa have warnedit is leading to a surge in cases there.The latest piece of the jigsaw is understanding how likely somebody who has already had Covid is likely to catch Omicron.It has also been detected in more than 30 countries.
Scientists have analysed nearly 36,000 suspected re-infections in South Africa to look for any changes to re-infection rates (catching it twice or more) throughout the pandemic.They showed there was no surge in the risk of re-infection during either the Beta or Delta waves. This is despite laboratory studies suggesting those variants had the potential to evade some immunity.
However, they are now detecting a spike in re-infections. They have not tested each patient to prove it is Omicron, but they say the timing suggests the variant is the driving force.The study, which has not been formally reviewed by other scientists,Prof Juliet Pulliam, from Stellenbosch University and one of the researchers, said: "These findings suggest that Omicron's selection advantage is at least partially driven by an increased ability to infect previously infected individuals." headtopics.com
However, it is still only one piece of the puzzle.There are questions about how much waning immunity is a factor and the extent to which any variant would be able to take off now.In addition, this was a rapid analysis and more data will come with time. The high burden of HIV, which suppresses the immune system, in the country also makes it harder to interpret the findings for the rest of the world.
Laboratory studies that show how well antibodies can attack the virus are expected to give results in the next week.Does the timing matter?In South Africa, only 24% of people are fully vaccinated. The researchers said their findings could have "important implications" for similar countries where there are high levels of natural immunity from infection.
But Prof Pulliam stressed they "cannot make any assessment of whether Omicron also evades vaccine-derived immunity" because they did not have that data.That makes it harder to understand what would happen in countries like the UK which have not only vaccinated far more people, but have rapidly rolled out booster doses to enhance immunity even further.
Boosting the immune system should compensate for some of the variant's immune-evading tricks.Prof Paul Hunter, from the University of East Anglia, said: "The implications of this paper are that Omicron will be able to overcome natural and probably vaccine-induced immunity to a significant degree. headtopics.com
"But, the degree is still unclear - though it is doubtful that this will represent complete escape."The gut instinct of most scientists is that even if vaccines are less effective at stopping you catching Covid their main job of preventing severe disease and death will hold up better.
However, Omicron could still cause a problem even if that is the case. If the variant is capable of causing a sudden large wave of new infections that could again put pressure on hospitals.It is still too soon to know for sure as it takes a couple of weeks from catching the virus to needing hospital care. South Africa is also a relatively young country, which means Covid will appear milder than it would if it spread in a more elderly population.
Prof Francois Balloux, from University College London, said: "The higher estimated re-infection ability of the Omicron variant to cause re-infection is not overly surprising and could be largely anticipated based on the large number of mutations in the spike protein carried by the omicron variant, which increase the Omicron variant's ability to bypass host immunity."Read more: BBC News (UK) »
Woman's Hour - Six the Musical, Author Hannah Jewell on 'snowflakes', Women in Ukraine - BBC Sounds
The success of the modern musical retelling of the lives of the six wives of Henry VIII. Read more >>
Unvacinnated young people in South Africa who contracted Omicron found to be re-infected easily again because Omicron virus so mild it doesn't generate a strong antibody reaction? bbcisfakenews Stop spreading fake news about Ethiopia No one really cares tbh Your daily updates desensitizes people where people become numbers and not people I don't care about any of it Because my family are jabbed so holidays are coming and I will see them this year so peddle your rubbish coz it doesn't effect anyone anymore 🥱
Just like a cold then Tories keep calm and party on at Christmas
Covid: First Omicron variant case confirmed in WalesThe first case of the Omicron Covid variant has been confirmed in Wales. 😴😴😴😴😴🖕
Tell us: how have you been affected by the Covid Omicron variant?We would like to hear how you have been affected by the new variant first identified in the southern Africa region Or why not ask what we were doing, or not doing, while No 10 hosted 1 helluva party?! Government incompetence & overreach continues. Media complicity remains consistent. daughter's family visit to SA after 2,5 years in jeopardy as returning to expensive R49 000 quarantine in UK is 4 X the air ticket price....
Young child becomes Australia's ninth Omicron Covid caseA child too young to be vaccinated has become Australia's eighth Omicron Covid case, with his family arriving on flight QR908 from Doha to Sydney on November 23. Those nutcases will lock down the entire country
South Africa Covid cases double as fears grow over omicron spreadScientists are concerned the new Covid variant may be more transmissible than delta If the symptoms are minor, the sooner everyone catches it the better. It would out-compete the more dangerous variants and finally put this hysteria to bed.
Omicron variant fuelling ‘exponential’ rise in Covid cases, say South Africa officialsNearly three-quarters of virus genomes sequenced last month were of new variant, say South African health officials NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO PARMA, ITALY 🇮🇹 THE MARCH OF THE VACCINE DEAD 1000s of People march with photos of their loved ones who died from the 'safe and effective' Covid-19 'vaccines'.
Will the Omicron Covid variant cancel Christmas?A new Covid variant first identified in South Africa is spreading around the world, with leaders rushing to respond. Our science correspondent Nicola Davis outlines what we know so far about the Omicron variant Omicron Covid is less severe than the variants that proceeded it.. this is terrible news