Researchers from South Africa published a preprint of a study that shows more of how the Omicron variant works.
New evidence is coming out on the Omicron COVID-19 variant. According to a new study, Omicron is capable of producing more reinfections than previous variants of the virus.
The study was conducted in South Africa, where the variant was first detected, and where it continues to rage. Out of 2.8 million positive tests for the Omicron variant, there were 35,670 reinfections, suggesting that Omicron can overcome some of the natural protection developed from a previous infection.
While these results don’t suggest that Omicron leads to more death and serious disease, it does suggest that it might outpace the Delta variant, resulting in a more problematic virus for the vaccinated and unvaccinated alike.
Experts shared that Omicron’s many mutations might make it more likely to evade immunity. “This does not bode well for vaccine-induced immunity,” virologist Florian Krammer told Science.
According to Natalie Dean, a biostatistician at Emory University, the study suggests that an early infection provides half as much protection from Omicron as it did against Delta.
As researchers continue to study the variant they’ll begin to draw a clearer picture of the matter. As of this writing, experts hope that the reinfections prompted by the new variant are mild and that the protection granted from vaccines and previous infections will result in a disease that isn’t serious and that will transform COVID-19 into any other disease that can be fought off with a vaccine.