MSN News reports that contracting the Omicron variant will not stop people from becoming infected with the same strain of coronavirus again. That’s according to the findings of a new study by scientists at the Imperial College London.
Previous research has found that people have been afforded some level of immunity against contracting coronavirus again if they had been infected with the original Covid virus or one of its earliest variants. However, that doesn’t seem to be the case with the Omicron variant according to this latest study.
According to the Mirror, the findings could explain why people who have had Omicron have then caught the variant again quickly afterwards. However, the website observes that the good news is that Covid deaths registered in England and Wales have continued to fall, though the magnitude of the drop has been affected by the Jubilee bank holidays.
Omicron not remembered by immune system
A professor from Imperial College said that Omicron is able to “fly under the radar” so it is not remembered by people’s immune systems. “The message is a little bleak. Omicron and its variants are great at breakthroughs but bad at inducing immunity, thus we get reinfections ad nauseum and a badly depleted workforce,” he said, reported the Telegraph.
“Not only can it break through vaccine defences, it looks to leave very few of the hallmarks we’d expect on the immune system. It’s more stealthy than previous variants and flies under the radar, so the immune system is unable to remember it.”Prof Danny Altmann from the Imperial College’s Department of Immunology and Inflammation
The research found that with those who were triple-vaccinated with no past infection, Omicron provided an immunity boost against earlier variants such as Alpha, Beta, Gamma and the original strain – but practically none against Omicron itself. A total of 186 deaths registered in the seven days to June 3 mentioned coronavirus on the death certificate, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS) – this is down 55% week-on-week and is the lowest number since July 2021.
Fewer deaths were registered due to Jubilee
The latest total covers a period that includes the bank holidays marking the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee on June 2 and 3, when most register offices were closed. This means fewer deaths were registered than would normally be the case. The disruption to registrations caused by the bank holidays is likely to have exaggerated the size of the week-on-week drop in registrations. But it is the fifth week in a row the figures have shown a decrease, suggesting Covid-19 deaths are continuing on a clear downwards trend.
It is too soon to see any impact in death registrations of the recent slight rise in Covid-19 infections in some parts of the country. Some 797,500 people in private households in England were likely to test positive for Covid-19 in the week ending June 2, the equivalent of about one in 70, the ONS said. This is up week on week from 784,100, which was also about one in 70. Infection levels are estimated to have risen in London, northwest England and southeast England, with early signs of an increase in eastern England.
Wales has seen Covid-19 infections increase very slightly to 40,500 people, up from 39,600, though both estimates are equivalent to around one in 75 people and the ONS describes the trend here as “uncertain”. The rise in prevalence is likely to have been caused by the spread of the newer Omicron variants BA.4 and BA.5, along with a jump in infections compatible with the original Omicron variant BA.1.
The BA.2 variant – which caused a record wave of infections in spring this year – remains the dominant strain in the UK, however.
COVID-19 in Madeira: updates can be found in an earlier post
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