Omicron Does Not Protect Against Reinfection, Studies Reveal

| Updated: February 2, 2022 8:04 pm

Reinfection after being infected with Omicron is very much possible, said epidemiologist and health economist Eric Feigl-Ding. The epidemiologist made the assertion following results of two studies conducted by the scientists and physicists of New England Complex Systems Institute (NECSI). 

“Omicron-induced immunity may not be sufficient to prevent infection from another, more pathogenic variant, should it emerge in the future. Immunity based on Omicron infection is weak for (another) Omicron reinfection,” Feigl-Ding said. 

The epidemiologist and health economist added, “Delta Variant infection seemed to protect more. But Delta is risky too. So unless you had a severe infection of either (don’t risk it), your mild case of Omicron isn’t a good guarantee of high protection. You may have some, but not a guarantee.” 

Quoting from the results of the same studies, Yaneer Bar-Yam, Complex Systems Physicist and President of NECSI, said, “Overall, immunity from Omicron infection is much lower than the immunity from Delta infection, correlated with the severity of infection. So unless you get a severe infection with all of its consequences you also don’t get immunity from having another infection.” 

“We found a significantly smaller rise of neutralization teeters associated with milder Omicron breakthrough infection in vaccinated individuals, to only approximately one-third of the rise associated with boosting,” the president of NECSI said. 

Feigl-Ding said the pediatricians along the globe have been reporting this back-to-back Omicron reinfection recently. “When two different studies match up with multitudes of anecdotes, the signal is there; it could be real,” he said. 

The epidemiologist, however, also added that the individuals who have been vaccinated and later infected by Omicron are likely to have enhanced immunity. 

“While individuals infected with Delta are at risk to develop severe lung disease, Omicron infection causes less severe disease, mostly upper respiratory symptoms. The question arises whether rampant spread of Omicron could lead to mass immunization, accelerating the end of the pandemic, the study said, adding, “Our results indicate that Omicron infection enhances preexisting immunity elicited by vaccines, but on its own may not induce broad, cross-neutralizing humoral immunity in unvaccinated individuals.”

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