Scientists in South Africa are warning that the new type of omecron can cause more infections in survivors of COVID-19 than in previous virus mutations.
A research team is re-detecting the infection in South Africa and has reported a leap with the advent of omecron which they did not notice when two previous species, including an additional infectious delta variant, entered the country. Moved
The results, posted online on Thursday, are preliminary and have not yet been scientifically reviewed. Nor did the researchers say which part of the re-infection was confirmed as omicron cases – or whether they caused serious illness.
But the rising tide of re-infection shows that omkron “shows ample evidence of population levels to avoid immunity from the first infection,” he wrote.
“The first infection was used to prevent delta infections and is no longer the case with omecron,” said Ann von Gotberg, a researcher at the University of Witwatersrand, in a World Health Organization briefing on Thursday.
The study also did not examine the safety offered by vaccination. Vaccines stimulate different layers of the immune response, some to prevent infection and others to prevent serious illness if someone is infected.
“We are confident that the vaccine will still provide protection against serious illness,” said Van Gogh.
The latest species was discovered just a week ago by scientists in South Africa and Botswana, and has now been found in several countries. Much is unknown about the new strain, including whether it is more contagious, as some health officials suspect, whether it makes people more seriously ill, and whether it could make the vaccine fail.
But it is important to know how much protection is provided against pre-infection, especially in those parts of the world where most of the population has yet to be vaccinated.
The study shows that “Omicron will be able to significantly control the natural and potentially vaccine-derived immunity,” said Paul Hunter, professor of medicine at the University of East Anglia, in a written response to the findings. Said Just how much “is not yet clear although it is doubtful that it will represent a complete escape.”