Omicron: scientists echo reinfection risk against prior COVID-19 experience

NEWS DIGEST – South African Scientists have echoed the increased risk of reinfection on previous COVID-19 infection people from Omicron against the prior experience of Beta and Delta Variants.

Centre for Respiratory Disease and Meningitis, National Institute For Communicable Diseases, South Africa, Prof. Anne Von Guttberg said “previous infection used to protect against delta and now with omicron it doesn’t seem to be case.”

Prof. Anne disclosed this statement during the Virtual Press Conference of the World Health Assembly on Thursday.

She added that they believe that vaccines would still however protect against severe disease because they had seen this decrease in protection using vaccine have always held out to prevent severe disease, hospital admission and deaths.

Following the discovery of routine surveillance date from South Africa from 4 March 2020 to 27 November 2021 show that the reinfection risk people of Omicron Is substantially higher than that associated with the Beta and Delta variants during the second and third waves with observed numbers of reinfection beyond the prediction interval.

In the same vein, the South Africa Centre for Epidemiology Modelling and Analysis, SAGEMA, Director, Prof. Juliet Pulliaim suggested that whether there is epidemiological evidence of increase infection the vaccine immuned community and the natural immuned community should be subject to vaccination as only way to preempt severe disease and hospital admission.

“In other words, contrary to our expectations and experience with the previous variants, we are now experiencing an increase in the risk of reinfection that exceeds our prior experience,” Juliet stated.

Equally, National Institute for Communicable Disease, Senior Medical Epidemiologist, Dr. Harry Morttrie has said the most urgent priority at the moment was to quantify the extent of Omicron’s immune escape for both natural and vaccine derived immunity, as well as its transmissibility relative to other variants and impact on decrease severity.