With Omicron BA.2 dethroning Omicron BA.1 and all previously identified COVID variants to become the dominant strain, the question that hovers in our mind now is – can the coronavirus strain re-infect us if we already had an infection from the previously identified subvariant. And, in case there is an infection, then how severe it can be. Here is all that you need to know.
Can you be infected with Omicron BA.2 if you already had Omicron?
In case you have been infected with the Omicron BA.1, there is immunity built up which can prevent infections from subvariant BA.2. Last month, The authors – Troels Lillebaek, a molecular epidemiologist at the State Serum Institute in Copenhagen, and his team looked into Denmark’s medical registries to find out whether re-infection by the BA.2 subvariant can create havoc.
“If BA.2 arrives in a community late, when the BA.1 Omicron wave is nearly over, immunity by Omicron infection and/or by boosting is likely to keep BA.2 from driving a second Omicron wave,” Sarah Otto, an evolutionary biologist at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, and Lillebaek’s colleague told Nature.
In fact, studies have also revealed that the subvariant BA.2 is unlikely to cause a major wave of infections in countries that have already witnessed an Omicron peak.
In case of re-infection, can it cause severe diseases?
Another Danish study suggested that in case there is reinfection, the virus load would be less the second time considering the patient is likely to develop immunity the first time. The study was led by researchers at Denmark’s top infectious disease authority, Statens Serum Institut (SSI).
“We provide evidence that Omicron BA.2 reinfections are rare but can occur relatively shortly after a BA.1 infection,” the study authors said.
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.