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Booster Shot May Not Be Enough; Omicron May Evade Antibodies And Cause Reinfection

Booster Shot May Not Be Enough; Omicron May Evade Antibodies And Cause Reinfection

While preliminary studies have suggested that COVID vaccines protect people against Omicron, a new study is trying to find to which extent as more vaccinated people get infected.

Written by Arushi Bidhuri |Updated : February 21, 2022 1:10 PM IST

First detected in South Africa, the Omicron variant slowly crept in and became the dominant COVID variant in the world. While the cases of the highly transmissible strain of the coronavirus are declining in India, several countries including the US is still trying to contain the infections. With over 50 mutations, it is also believed to be one of the most mutated versions with most of them in spike protein, enabling it to evade antibodies.

The Omicron variant of COVID-19 is now spreading in populations where individuals have already been infected with COVID and vaccinated. Reports suggest that even people who have been administered the booster dose of the coronavirus vaccines are being infected with the virus.

Omicron Is Affecting Those Vaccinated With Booster Dose

A Lancet study found that preliminary data from South Africa's National Institute for Communicable Diseases shows a decoupling of infection rates from hospitalizations and deaths due to omicron. These findings imply that infection triggers underlying immune responses and that primary and booster vaccines may help to shorten the course of sickness.

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Studies have also suggested that "booster doses might enhance protection against Omicron, but studies are underway to fully determine vaccine effectiveness. Given the natural lag between infection and severe outcomes, we await further data on Omicron for the effectiveness of vaccinations in preventing severe disease the key intended outcome of vaccination."

The WHO recognised SARS-CoV-2 Omicron (B.1.1.529) as a variety of concerns due to its specific mutations that could increase transmissibility, risk of reinfection, or vaccination breakthrough infection, according to the Lancet study. Many of these mutations disrupt the spike protein's receptor-binding region and N-terminal domain, which could, paradoxically, boost ACE-2 binding while avoiding antibody recognition.

But Vaccination Is Your Best Bet Against COVID

Time and again, experts have emphasized the fact that vaccines are your best bet against coronavirus. While there is agreement on the Omicron's mild nature and low hospitalization rate, public health experts say that vaccination is the greatest defence going forward and that booster doses for the most vulnerable should be accelerated.

Meanwhile, the cases of COVID-19 are continuously decreasing in India, with fewer deaths and the number of new cases reducing in most parts of the country. Even the world is seeing a massive drop in the number of coronavirus cases. According to reports, the average number of global daily cases has declined for the third week in a row, falling by 22% to 1.97 million after a three-and-a-half-month high.

Over the last seven days, the situation has improved in most parts of the world. The number of daily cases fell by 43 per cent in the US/Canada zone, 35 per cent in the Middle East, 23 per cent in Europe and Latin America/Caribbean, and 22 per cent in Africa. In Asia, the situation remained nearly constant, with a 1 per cent decrease in cases. In Oceania, they increased by the same amount.

(With inputs from agencies)

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