Catching Omicron variant ‘does NOT provide immunity from reinfection’, scientists reveal
Catching Omicron variant ‘provides NO immunity against reinfection’, scientists reveal – saying it helps explain continued rise in cases
- Latest study finds that Omicron variant of Covid does not provide immunity against reinfection
- Imperial College researchers described it as ‘more inconspicuous’ than previous variants
- Previous variants provided some immunity to reinfection, but not Omicron
Covid patients who have contracted the Omicron variant will not be protected from getting it again, according to scientists at Imperial College London.
The researchers say Omicron and its evolutions could explain why Covid cases remain higher than predicted in the UK.
Previous studies have found that previous illnesses with Covid provided some immunity to reinfection – but the latest research indicates that this is not the case with the Omicron variant, De Telegraaf reports†
Prof Danny Altmann of Imperial College’s Department of Immunology and Inflammation said: ‘The message is a bit gloomy. Omicron and its variants are great at breakthroughs, but bad at inducing immunity, so we end up with ad nauseum reinfections and a severely depleted workforce.
“Not only can it break the defenses of vaccines, it also seems to leave very little of the characteristics we would expect on the immune system.
“It’s more inconspicuous than previous variants and flies under the radar, so the immune system can’t remember it.”
Covid patients who contracted the Omicron variant will not be protected from getting it again, according to scientists
Previous studies found that previous illnesses with Covid provided some immunity to reinfection – but the latest study indicates that this is not the case with the Omicron variant
Researchers have been trying to understand why people become reinfected with omicron, often shortly after recovering from a previous bout of the disease.
Blood samples were collected from UK health professionals who had been triple vaccinated and with different infection patterns with Covid to understand the immunity of antibodies, T and B cells.
The study revealed that among those triple vaccinated with no previous infection, Omicron provided immunity boost against earlier variants such as alpha, beta, gamma and the original ancestral strain — but practically none against Omicron itself.
Covid patients who were first affected during the first wave of the virus and then again with Omicron were also found to have no immunity — a trend that researchers have labeled “hybrid immune dampening.”
†[Omicron] is more insidious than previous variants and flies under the radar, so the immune system can’t remember it,” said Prof Danny Altmann of Imperial College’s Department of Immunology and Inflammation.
The number of recorded deaths from Covid-19 in England and Wales has continued to fall, although the magnitude of the decline has been impacted by the anniversary holidays.
According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), a total of 186 deaths were recorded in the seven days to June 3 that listed the coronavirus on the death certificate.
This is 55% lower than week-on-week and is the lowest number since July 2021.
The latest total covers a period that includes the holidays that mark the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee on June 2 and 3, when most registry offices were closed.
As a result, fewer deaths have been recorded than would normally be the case.