Covid: omicron variant three times more likely to cause reinfection, a study says

Published by Caroline J. · Published on 4 December 2021 at 11h07
As nine Omicron variant cases have been reported in France to this stage, a South African study says the reinfection risk increases with the Omicron variant. Keep reading to find out more.

While the Omicron variant has started to spread in several countries all around the world, many questions remain unanswered as for the new variant. But the first studies are being issued. And among them, the one revealed by South African scientists. They say the Omicron variant is three times more likely to cause reinfection.

The Omicron variant has a “substantial ability to evade immunity from prior infection”, the study reads, issued on December 2 on pre-print website medRxiv. Further laboratory results are expected to confirm this first study or not. But according to the scientists who studied the cases of 35,670 reinfections identified in about 2.8 million people who tested Covid-19 positive in South Africa, the reinfection risk with the Omicron variant is even said to be three times more likely compared to the previous waves caused by the Beta and Delta variants.

If the risk of being reinfected with Covid-19 increases with the Omicron variant, what about the effectiveness of vaccines? Does this new variant evade immunity given by the serums currently available? “We do not have information about the vaccination status of individuals in our data set and therefore cannot make any assessment of whether Omicron also evades vaccine-derived immunity”, Juliet Pulliam – one of the study’s authors – wrote on Twitter.

Recently, Moderna CEO Stéphane Bancel explained he was expecting a “material drop” in the Covid vaccines effectiveness currently given. As for the WHO, they consider it is to soon to say new vaccines will be required to effectively fight against the new Omicron variant.

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