According to a study by South African scientists, the Omigran variant increases the risk of recurrence of COVID-19, giving the first indication that the variant is more capable of avoiding infection-acquired immunity than previous variants.
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The work is based on an analysis of 35,670 re-infections identified in nearly 2.8 million people tested positive in South Africa.
Between November 1 and November 27, the risk of re-infection was three times higher compared to waves associated with beta and delta variations.
The study concludes that “the Omicron variant is associated with a significant ability to prevent immunity from previous infections”, which was available on the medRxiv pre-release site on Thursday, but has not yet been verified by peers.
“We have no data on the vaccine status of individuals in our data, so we can not make any conclusions about Omicron’s ability to avoid vaccine – induced immunity,” Juliette Bulliam of Stellenbosch University in South Africa warned on Twitter. Study.
Last week, South Africa announced the discovery of this new variant, which created the phenomenon of global panic.
Because it has so many mutations, scientists have tried to understand whether it can be highly contagious or resistant to vaccines or immunity acquired due to a previous infection.
Laboratory results are still awaited, so this study provides valuable first information.
“We hope that the previous infection will not protect us from Omigran,” said Anne von Godberg, an epidemiologist with the South African National Infectious Diseases (NICD).
According to first observations, already infected people may be re-contaminated by Omicron, often with less severe symptoms, the scientist noted.
However, vaccines should be effective against severe forms of the disease, he said.
The current variation is found in at least 22 countries, according to the WHO, in four African countries: Ghana, Nigeria, Botswana and South Africa.
Due to the rapid increase in pollution in South Africa, the number of official COVID-19 cases in the last seven days has increased by 54% over the last seven days, which is expected to cross 10,000 cases in the next 24 hours. , According to WHO Africa.
Two weeks ago, about 300 cases a day were reported in South Africa. The country reported 8,561 new cases on Wednesday, up from 4,373 the previous day.
At this point, WHO expert Ambrose Talisuna pointed out that “we do not know where the variation is coming from.” Following the discovery of a new variant named Omicron, South Africa and its neighbors have been fined for sudden travel bans in several countries.
The WHO has reiterated its call for the removal of these “unreasonable” restrictions, for which there is no scientific justification.
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