Surprise discovery.  Those who had COVID in the first wave do not have immunity to Omicron

Experts say that although the three doses of the vaccine help protect people against serious forms if they become infected with Omicron, previous infections can affect the immune response.

“If you were infected during the first wave, then you can’t boost your immune response if you have an Omicron infection,” Rosemary Boynton of Imperial College London, co-author of the study, was quoted as saying by The Guardian.

The team also found that an Omicron infection provides little additional protection against re-contracting.

“When Omicron started to spread, people kept saying that it was okay, that it would improve immunity. What we’re saying is that it’s not a good stimulant of immunity,” Boynton said.

The team says the findings may help explain why short-term Omicron reinfections have been so common, adding that the findings are also important for vaccine development.

In Science, researchers say they tracked 731 triple-vaccinated people in the UK from March 2020 to January 2022.

The results suggest that regardless of the participants’ previous history of infection, their TV levels against Omicron proteins were low a few weeks after the third COVID vaccine, while their antibody levels against Omicron proteins were lower than in others. variant.

But previous infections also mattered. Among other findings, the team reports that Omicron infection increases protection against future infection with other variants. However, it offers only a limited increase in protection against another Omicron infection – a response that has, in fact, been weakened by those who previously had the original strain of the virus.

The team suggests that those who took COVID in the first wave of the pandemic do not benefit from an increase in their immune response if they later contract Omicron.

Researchers say that this finding is a surprise, because it is usually assumed that a previous infection, even with a different variant, would act to stimulate an individual’s immune response.

“It’s worse than that, because the adaptations that the spike protein has now induce a kind of regulation or stop of the immune response,” said Professor Danny Altmann, another author of the study.

The results raise other concerns.

“We’re not getting herd immunity, we’re not accumulating protective immunity at Omicron,” Danny Altmann said.

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