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Home / Science / Health /  Omicron can infect you twice: Expert explains severity, reinfection symptoms by BA.2 sub-variant
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With Omicron BA.2 dethroning previously identified BA.1 subvariant, questions regarding reinfection are looming large. A Danish study has recently revealed that it is not impossible to get infected with two sub-variants of Omicron, but the chances are rare. The researchers also suggested the virus load would be less the second time considering the patient is likely to develop immunity the first time. 

The new study was led by researchers at Denmark's top infectious disease authority, Statens Serum Institut (SSI). However, it is yet to be peer-reviewed. 

"We provide evidence that Omicron BA.2 reinfections are rare but can occur relatively shortly after a BA.1 infection," the study authors said.

The reinfections mostly affected young, unvaccinated individuals and only caused mild disease, none of which led to hospitalisations or deaths, the researchers added

BA.1 and BA.2 differ by up to 40 mutations. While BA.2 accounts for more than 88% of cases in Denmark, cases have started to increase in the United Kingdom, South Africa and Norway.

What WHO said on reinfection? 

Previously, World Health Organisation officials had said with coronavirus variants, unfortunately, it wins or escapes with time. 

Explaining why the chances of reinfections are high, WHO officials said, When you get an infection, your body has an immediate defence that’s called natural innate immunity and then you develop what we call the B cells and the T cells. The B cells produce immunoglobulins. You maintain those immunoglobulins for a certain time and then they go down after three to six months, the official explains.

When those immunities go down and you will get exposed, and that’s why we’ve been saying continue protecting because your immunoglobulins have gone down, your first line of defense has done down, you can get reinfected.

Omicron dethroned other COVID variants

Regarding BA.2, WHO said that there are a lot of studies underway that are comparing different sublineages of Omicron -what we know about their transmissibility, severity and impacts of vaccines.

“Now among all subvariants, BA.2 is more transmissible than BA.1. However, there is no difference in terms of severity."

WHO also pointed out that all other coronavirus variants, including alpha, beta and delta, continue to decline globally as omicron crowds them out. Among the more than 400,000 COVID-19 virus sequences uploaded to the world's biggest virus database in the last week, more than 98% were omicron.

(With inputs from agencies)

 

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