Previous Covid infection does NOT protect against the Omicron variant as with Delta

A previous COVID-19 infection may not protect against the Omicron variant as with the Delta variant.

dr. Anne Von Gottberg, a microbiologist with the South African National Institute of Communicable Diseases, said at a press conference hosted by the World Health Organization on Thursday that the country is seeing an increase in breakthrough infections.

“Infection used to protect against Delta, but now with Omicron, that doesn’t seem to be the case,” she said.

‘We have been monitoring this reinfection for the Beta [variant] and for the Delta wave, and we didn’t see an increase in reinfections beyond what we expect when the strength of infection changes, when the wave stops.

“However, we see an increase for Omicron.”

Dr Anne Von Gottberg, a microbiologist with the South African National Institute for Communicable Diseases, said Thursday (above) that a previous COVID-19 infection may not protect against the Omicron variant

It comes as COVID-19 cases in South Africa have risen dramatically from 500 a day two weeks ago to 11,535 a day on Thursday

It comes as COVID-19 cases in South Africa have risen dramatically from 500 a day two weeks ago to 11,535 a day on Thursday

Von Gottberg did not specify the number of Omicron reinfections compared to the number of Delta reinfections, only the number was higher for the new variant.

But she added that a previous infection should still protect against serious illness, hospitalization and death from a new infection.

The Omicron variant was first identified by South African researchers last week and is believed to have originated in Botswana or in Europe.

It has 50 mutations, more than 30 of which are on the spike protein, which is used by the coronavirus to invade and infect cells.

In comparison, the Delta variant – still the predominant variant in the US – has seven mutations on the spike protein.

Early evidence suggests it is more transmissible than earlier variants, but it’s unclear whether it causes more serious illness or death.

Nearly 400 cases have been detected in 32 countries, including the US, UK and Canada.

In South Africa, cases have risen dramatically from 500 a day two weeks ago to 11,535 a day on Thursday.

In addition, the percentage of tests that came back positive rose from 16.5 percent on Wednesday to 22.5 percent.

Hospital admissions have also risen with 1,172 South Africans admitted to public and private hospitals, compared to 1,250 people admitted to hospital in the first four days of this week alone.

Von Gottberg said the rate of reinfection linked to the Omicron variant is higher than that linked to the Delta variant.  Pictured: A throat swab is taken from a patient to test for COVID-19 at a facility in South Africa, Soweto, Dec.

Von Gottberg said the rate of reinfection linked to the Omicron variant is higher than that linked to the Delta variant. Pictured: A throat swab is taken from a patient to test for COVID-19 at a facility in South Africa, Soweto, Dec.

The percentage of COVID-19 tests that came back positive rose from 16.5% on Wednesday to 22.5% on Thursday as the number of cases increases in each province

The percentage of COVID-19 tests that came back positive rose from 16.5% on Wednesday to 22.5% on Thursday as the number of cases increases in each province

Last week, 1,172 South Africans were admitted to public and private hospitals, compared to 1,250 people hospitalized with the virus in the first four days of this week alone

Last week, 1,172 South Africans were admitted to public and private hospitals, compared to 1,250 people hospitalized with the virus in the first four days of this week alone

“We believe the number of cases will increase exponentially in all counties across the country,” von Gottberg said.

“In all of our counties, we’re seeing an increase in the percentage of positive testing for all SARS-CoV-2 tests that are done, and we think the number of cases will increase in these counties.”

A small handful of positive samples are currently being genetically sequenced.

However, von Gottberg said that of 249 samples containing genetic sequencing in November, 183 samples – nearly 75 percent – were linked to the Omicron variant,

“It looks like Omicron was predominant across the country,” she said.

And Omicron has been identified through sequencing in at least five of our counties [that are] sequence data.’

The world’s largest outbreak of Omicron variants to date has been linked to a Christmas party held last month.

More than 100 employees of Scatec – a sustainable energy systems company – traveled from Norway to Cape Town, South Africa, for a Christmas event.

Upon their return, between 50 and 60 of them tested positive for Covid, at least one of which was a confirmed case of the Omicron variant.

It is feared that most if not all cases are found to be linked to the variant once they undergo genetic sequencing.

All participants on the trip to Cape Town were fully vaccinated, according to Scatec, and none of those infected have had any serious illness to date.

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