Stealth Omicron: A new version of Covid can re-infect you every month

Stealth Omicron: A new version of Covid can re-infect you every month

Health experts around the globe are sounding the alarm as they begin to report that Omicron BA.5, the coronavirus strain that has overtaken other strains in the infection and is now the dominant strain in the US and abroad, has the ability to , re-infecting people within weeks of. shedding the virus.

Andrew Roberston, Western Australia’s chief health officer, told News.com.au that while previous wisdom held that most people would retain some level of protection against re-infection if they were vaccinated or had maintained some level of natural immunity due to the recent contraction of the virus, this is not the case with the latest strain.

“What we’re seeing is an increase in the number of people infected with BA.2 who will then be infected after four weeks,” the doctor explained during an interview with an Australian news outlet. “So maybe six to eight weeks they’re developing a second infection, which is almost certainly BA.4 or BA.5.”

Due to the ability of the BA.4 and BA.5 strains to re-infect individuals who would have had stronger immunity in previous waves of Covid-19, some experts have begun to call the strain the most this latest is the most transmissible yet.

“They are taking over, so they are clearly more infectious than earlier versions of omicron,” said David Montefiori, a professor at the Human Vaccine Institute at Duke University Medical Center, in an interview with NBC News.

Federal estimates released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Tuesday show that BA.5 has now risen to become the dominant strain in the US, accounting for about 54 percent of cases for the week ending 2 July 2022.

And while the average number of new cases recorded by the US each day has hovered around 95,000 to 115,00, according to data from The New York Times, experts fear that a combination of home testers not reporting positive cases, the closure of government-funded testing centers has created a less accurate picture of how much this new strain is really sweeping the nation and an increase in states stopping their daily data updates.

A study published in Science last week confirmed the troubling reality that many may already be suffering anecdotally with multiple reinfections back to back: these two new sub-variants bypass protection from previous infections and vaccines.

Professor of immunology Danny Altmann, co-author who wrote the Science A paper with Rosemary Boyton, professor of immunology and respiratory medicine, discussed the results of their research in a recent issue. They noted that contrary to popular belief that vaccines and previous infection would provide a “wall of immunity”, nations are instead experiencing “wave after wave of new cases”.

In the study, Professor Altmann explains how they followed individuals who underwent three vaxx and those who suffered head infections during earlier Omicron waves.

“This allows us to examine whether Omicron was, as some had hoped, a benign natural booster of our Covid immunity,” he wrote in The Guardian. “It turns out that’s not the case.”

“Most people – even when triple vaccinated – had 20 times less neutralizing antibody response against Omicron than against the initial ‘Wuhan’ strain,” said Mr. Altmann, giving noted, importantly, “Omicron’s infection was no longer a weak immunity booster for Omicron. infections”.

“It’s a kind of stealth virus that goes in under the radar,” he said, stressing that “even after having Omicron, we’re not well protected from further infections”.

Mr. Altmann’s research appears to confirm other recent studies released in recent weeks that warn of the ability of new subtypes to evade protection from previous immune-building precautions; namely vaccination and natural immunity.

Research published in nature from Columbia University, a yet-to-be-peer-reviewed study shows that BA.4 and BA.5 are four times more resistant to vaccine antibodies than BA.2, a subvariant that has become the dominant strain in the States United in April. , replacing the original pressure that triggered the winter wave across the country.

While experts believe that these current strains are likely to trigger new waves, they noted that vaccines will provide partial immunity and may still protect against potentially more severe infections.

“Our data suggest that these new Omicron sub-variants are likely to be capable of suppressing infections in populations with high levels of vaccine immunity as well as natural BA1 and BA2 immunity,” Dr. Dan Barouch told CNN. “Vaccine immunity is still likely to provide substantial protection against severe disease with BA4 and BA5.”

Dr Barouch was one of the co-authors of a separate paper, published with the New England Journal of Medicinefound that there was a threefold reduction in neutralizing antibodies from vaccines and infection against BA.4 and BA.5, which was significantly lower than BA.1 and BA2.

Because of this, it is likely that there will be a need, not just for a boost, but for an update of vaccinations that many of them have received in the last 18 months.

The Federal Drug Administration last week recommended that the makers of Covid-19 vaccines, namely Pfizer and Moderna, begin changing what they currently have available so that their booster shots can more accurately target the BA.4 and BA variants .5 and those shots are thought to be available as early as mid-fall.

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