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Monday, January 24, 2022

Preliminary research from South Africa shows a sudden surge in reinfections as Omicron spreads.

On Thursday, South African scientists warned that past coronavirus infection gives a weak immunity to the new Omicron variant spreading around the world, potentially destroying one layer of protection that humanity has been gaining slowly and at a huge cost.

Just a week after its existence became known to the world, the highly mutated variant, which scientists fear may be the most infectious, is already the dominant form of the virus in South Africa and is spreading rapidly, according to local authorities. Leading European disease experts said Thursday it could become the dominant form in Europe within a few months.

Scientists from South Africa reported a sudden sharp rise in coronavirus cases last month among people in that country who were already infected in a study that has not yet been reviewed and published in a scientific journal. The authors noted that there was no such rise when the Beta and Delta variants appeared.

They did not say how many of those re-infections could be due to Omicron, but South Africa’s National Institute for Infectious Diseases said Wednesday that when it genetically analyzed a sample of positive coronavirus test results in November, nearly three-quarters were a new variant.

“Population-level data suggest that the Omicron variant is associated with a significant ability to evade immunity from a prior infection,” the authors of the unpublished study write.

In an online briefing hosted by the World Health Organization’s regional office for Africa, South African scientists presented a rougher version of the same conclusion, simply based on raw data from the country: about 40 percent of South Africans have coronavirus and about 30 percent have the disease. were at least partially vaccinated (although there is undoubtedly some overlap), and nevertheless the number of new cases is growing.

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“We believe that a previous infection does not provide them with protection against Omicron infection,” said Ann von Gottberg, a microbiologist at the Institute for Infectious Diseases.

South Africa has the fastest growing patient flow in the world, although these numbers are small compared to those in many other countries. In the first half of November, an average of about 260 new cases were registered per day. On Tuesday, this figure exceeded 4300 – the highest figure in several months. It jumped to over 8,600 on Wednesday and over 11,500 on Thursday.

Scientists say the number and type of changes suggest that Omicron is much more transmitted than earlier forms of the virus, although there is still no conclusive evidence for this. As countries around the world rush to introduce new travel regulations, some of which have banned pilots from southern Africa, experts say the measures could have limited impact unless accompanied by other steps, including increased vaccinations, wearing masks and social distancing.

“Border control can reduce the risk of imports and buy time,” Dr Takeshi Kasai, World Health Organization Regional Director for the Western Pacific, said in an online news conference Friday. “But it is impossible to completely stop the virus unless you completely close the border, which will have a significant impact.”

World Nation News Deskhttps://www.worldnationnews.com
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