Omicron reduces protection against Breakthrough infections and future variants

    There has been substantial debate about whether people with a prior COVID-19 infection should be vaccinated against the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

    Such people often have an immunological response, according to some studies, to the administration of a COVID-19 vaccine, demonstrating that vaccination remains helpful.

    And there are some studies that confirm that natural immunity obtained from COVID-19 or its variants protects a person from severe re-infection or breakthrough infection.

    However, a recent study conducted by researchers from the University of California-San Francisco, University of California-Berkeley, California Department of Public Health, and Gladstone Institutes-San Francisco discovered that breakthrough Omicron infections reduce protection against reinfection or infection from future variants.

    Omicron reduces protection against Breakthrough infections and future variants – study finds

    In the study, virus-like particle (VLP) and live viral assays were performed to examine neutralizing immunity against Delta and Omicron SARS-CoV-2 variants in 259 samples from 128 vaccinated patients. Titers against WT climbed 57-fold and 3.1-fold during Delta breakthrough infection, vs 5.8-fold and 3.1-fold following Omicron breakthrough infection.

    Delta breakthrough infections resulted in 10.8-fold higher titers against WT in immunocompetent, un-boosted patients when compared to Omicron (p=0.037). Reduced antibody responses in Omicron breakthrough infections were possibly linked to a higher number of asymptomatic or mild breakthrough infections (55.0 percent versus 28.6 percent, respectively), which had 12.3-fold lower WT titers than moderate-severe infections (p=0.020).

    Limited variant-specific cross-neutralizing immunity was detected following either Delta or Omicron breakthrough infection, according to the findings.

    According to the findings, Omicron breakthrough infections are less immunogenic than Delta, implying that they provide less protection against reinfection or infection by future variations.

    The results of the study were peer-reviewed and published in the prominent journal Cell.

    A large number of well-known experts and even independent scientists who aren’t employed by big pharma have endorsed the study’s conclusions as well.

    Source: 10.1016/j.cell.2022.03.019

    Image Credit: Getty

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