As the new variant of COVID-19 wreaks havoc on the world-leading countries to go under complete lockdown once again, scientists might have found a silver lining to being infected with the variant. Apparently, an Omicron infection is capable of protecting the patient against the Delta variant of the COVID-19 virus.
The number of cases affected by the Omicron variant has been increasing worldwide every day hence, this news of being immune to the variant itself while being simultaneously protected against the Delta Variant is definitely the silver lining that all of us needed.
What Are The Details Of The Study?
The new Omicron variant was first discovered in South Africa hence, it is quite natural that this piece of positive news originates from a South African study. The group of researchers has concluded that anyone who is affected by the Omicron variant is automatically immunized to any future attacks by the variant and is somehow protected against the Delta COVID-19 variant.
These findings can have serious and significant effects for countries such as the United States where the Omicron variant sees an increase in cases every day but the Delta variant is the most widespread infection leading to hospitalization of the patients.
“These results are consistent with Omicron displacing the Delta variant, since it can elicit immunity which neutralizes Delta making re-infection with Delta less likely,” the team of scientists, led by Khadija Khan at the Africa Health Research Institute, wrote in their findings.
According to their findings, “If omicron displaces delta and proves milder than past variants, the incidence of Covid-19 induced severe disease would be reduced and the infection may shift to become less disruptive to individuals and society.”
The study followed 13 people, out of which 11 had been affected by the Omicron variant. Seven of these participants were fully vaccinated of which three people received two doses of Pfizer and BioNTech vaccine while four received the Johnson & Johnson shot.
The people who were infected with the Omicron variant appeared to have increased antibodies and better protection against the Delta variant. The participants also showed a fourteen percent increase in the ability to produce antibodies to block future Omicron reinfections.
Vaccinated participants showed stronger protection but the scientists do caution that the study did not make clear whether the increased protection is due to naturally occurring Omicron-induced antibodies, vaccination or personal immunity of the patients from a previous infection.
In the United States, Omicron represented 58% of total COVID-19 cases while Delta made up 41% last week, according to data from the US.
What Does This Mean For The Future?
Even though this study has proven to be quite beneficial in the field of studying the virus, it is not peer-reviewed and had a participation of only 30 people. Realistic studies from the United Kingdom and South Africa have suggested that people infected with Omicron develop less severe illness as compared to those infected with Delta.
However, experts warn that Omicron is spreading faster than any other variant of the COVID-19 virus and could easily overwhelm countries and hospitals due to how fast it is spreading. A study from Hong Kong has found that Omicron develops 70 times faster in the human lungs than any other variant but the infection is less severe.
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