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If you’ve Already Had Omicron, Research Suggests you’re Less Likely to Acquire Covid in the Next Wave

COVID reinfections in persons who have undergone Omicron are uncommon thus far.

BA.2 has already surpassed older versions of the Omicron variant across Europe and the northeastern United States (including BA.1, BA.1.1, and B.1.1.529).

Since pandemic limitations were released in Europe this spring, there’s been a significant increase in BA.2 infections all across the continent.

Since COVID-19 infections are on the rise, many people who have been sick in the last few months are questioning if they can catch Omicron again.

It is possible, but not frequent, to re-infect with Omicron

Researchers in Denmark discovered that reinfection with BA.2 after BA.1 can occur, although it’s uncommon. They sequenced far more COVID-19 instances in Denmark than in other parts of the world.

BA.1 infections offer good cross-protection against BA.2 infections, according to several lab research using blood samples.

According to the findings of the study:

  • The unvaccinated who have not been infected with BA.1 are the most vulnerable to BA.2.
  • For those who’ve never been infected with BA.1 or BA.2, booster shots looked to be quite effective in maintaining antibody levels against both BA.1 and BA.2.
  • People who had been boosted, vaccinated, plus earlier infected had the strongest protection against BA.2.
  • Vaccinated participants in the study with a past COVID-19 infection (probably BA.1) have over 3 times the level of neutralizing antibodies against BA.2 than the rest of the population.
  • According to the researchers, this indicates that BA.2 has “a substantial degree of cross-reactive natural immunity”  from BA.1.
  • Booster shots should work just as well on BA.2 as they did on previous Omicron versions.
  • Booster shots perform almost as well against BA.2 as they do against BA.1 according to the same New England Journal of Medicine letter.

Hybrid immunity

The immunity that has been “hybridized” suggests that there are benefits to vaccination or boosting persons who have already been vaccinated for COVID

On Tuesday, a far larger preprint report was published online, based on vaccination plus infection data from the entire nation of Qatar. It’s not been peer-reviewed yet, however, as the NEJM paper, indicates that a prior Omicron infection combined with a recent booster dose provides the strongest protection against an Omicron infection, whether BA.1 or BA.2.

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