Omicron infection does not increase immunity conferred by Covid vaccines

Researchers from the United Kingdom presented on Tuesday (14) a study that contradicts a thesis that had been defended regarding immunity against Covid-19. They proved, in an article in the Science magazineto be infected by Omicron variant of the coronavirus does not increase the immune response of previously vaccinated persons.

The team led by Professor Danny Altmann, Department of Immunology and Inflammation at Imperial College London, found that Ômicron and its subvariants provide a frank natural boost of immunity against Covid-19, including in re-infections by Ômicron itself even in people aged three. vaccine doses.

The study also found that people infected with other strains of the coronavirus and reinfected with Ômicron some time later also did not have any significant immune gains.

In January, a study by researchers at the University of Oregonin the United States, and published in the journal Science Immunology suggested that vaccination associated with infection by one of the variants of concern – Alpha, Beta or Gamma – guaranteed a stronger and longer-lasting immune response.

The researchers, however, had not included Omicron because it had not yet been identified at the time the work was conducted.

Ômicron currently accounts for 100% of Covid-19 cases in Brazil, according to samples sequenced by the Fiocruz Genomics Network (Fundação Oswaldo Cruz).

The first wave, in January, was caused by the subvariant BA.1, but the current one predominates in BA.2, which is much more transmissible.

The team’s findings help explain what lies behind the successive reinfections that have been observed since the emergence of Ômicron.

“[A Ômicron] not only can it break through the vaccine’s defences, but it seems to leave very few of the marks we’d expected on the immune system – it’s stealthier than previous variants and flies under the radar, so the immune system is unable to remember that.”

Still, the authors stress that immunization, while not completely preventing symptomatic Covid-19, is critical to reducing the risk of disease complications and death.

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