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Thursday, January 27, 2022

Omicron Tracker: Infection with Omicron may also protect against Delta, study in South Africa finds

The researchers obtained antibodies from a group of Omicron-infected individuals two weeks after infection and assessed their ability to neutralise the Omicron and Delta variants.

Written by Amitabh Sinha |
Updated: December 29, 2021 7:20:19 am
Omicron Tracker: Infection with Omicron may also protect against Delta, study in South Africa finds“The increase in Delta variant neutralisation in individuals infected with Omicron may result in decreased ability of Delta to re-infect those individuals,” the researchers were quoted by Reuters as saying.

An infection with the Omicron variant of SARS-CoV-2 not just induces an immune response against this variant but also offers heightened protection against the Delta variant, a South African study has found. The research is not yet peer-reviewed and had a small sample size, of about 30 people. The researchers obtained antibodies from a group of Omicron-infected individuals two weeks after infection and assessed their ability to neutralise the Omicron and Delta variants. While the antibodies, not surprisingly, showed after two weeks a 14-fold increase in the ability to neutralise the Omicron variant, it was also found to have over four times higher neutralising capacity against Delta.

“The increase in Delta variant neutralisation in individuals infected with Omicron may result in decreased ability of Delta to re-infect those individuals,” the researchers were quoted by Reuters as saying.

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Scientists said this could result in Omicron replacing Delta as the most prevalent variant. This can be good news if Omicron continues to produce only milder forms of the disease as current data suggest.

US guidelines

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the United States has recommended a shorter isolation period for people infected with coronavirus but without any symptoms. In new guidelines issued on Monday evening, the CDC said such patients needed to isolate themselves for only five days, instead of the earlier mandate of ten days.

The guidelines were changed apparently to minimise the economic disruptions caused by large number of people having to isolate themselves even though the chances of them passing on the infection to others were slim.

France restrictions

In Europe, France became the latest country to bring in stricter restrictions in the New Year. The new restrictions, which prohibit the assembly of more than 2,000 people indoors, and more than 5,000 outdoors, and make work from home compulsory for those who can, would kick in on January 3. France has been detecting record numbers of coronavirus cases amidst the rapid spread of the Omicron variant.

Several other countries, including Germany, Portugal and Italy, had announced restrictions after Christmas.

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