New research reveals that prior infection from COVID-19 is not as protective when it comes to symptomatic omicron reinfections. This news comes as the highly contagious variant sweeps the nation. A new study conducted by researchers in Qatar, which has not been peer reviewed yet, found that you cannot count on previous infection caused by other coronavirus variants to protect you from getting COVID-19 again.
Prior infections were 90% effective against symptomatic infections for the alpha variant, 92% effective against delta, and only 56% effective against omicron.
According to Axios, initial studies revealed that coronavirus vaccines, particularly without a booster shot, are also much less effective against omicron than other variants, although they do seem to prevent serious disease. This has been verified by another study conducted by researchers at the Ragon Institute at Massachusetts General Hospital, MIT, and Harvard.
“Even if antibodies can’t keep us from getting infected with omicron, other aspects of the immune response may keep us from becoming very sick,” said Alejandro Balazs, of the Ragon Institute. But new data suggests that vaccine effectiveness does wane over time, according to USA Today. Balazs’ study also found that the best antibody response came from getting two doses of the mRNA vaccines from Moderna and Pfizer, followed by a booster.
Even getting infected by omicron after being vaccinated wasn’t anywhere near as effective as getting the booster. The booster created “substantially higher” antibodies than vaccination followed by infection, said the authors, who published their findings in the journal Cell. The mRNA booster was also effective for those who received one dose of the Johnson & Johnson shot.
The two studies emphasize the importance of getting boosters to evade omicron’s remarkable ability to evade immune protection either from vaccines or infection, which goes a long way to explain its explosive growth rate, says Axios.
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