SRINAGAR – With India reporting two cases of Omicron, Doctors Association Kashmir (DAK) on Friday warned of higher rates of reinfections due to the new variant in persons who have recovered from Covid-19 infection.
“The risk of reinfection from the Omicron is higher than for any previous variants,” said DAK President and Influenza expert Dr Nisar ul Hassan.
Quoting a new study published in the preprint server medRxiv on Thursday, he said Omicron variant is three times more likely to cause reinfection compared to the Delta variant.
The DAK President said the study was based on data collected through South Africa’s health system on about 2.8 million confirmed coronavirus infections between March 2020 and 27 November, 2021 including 35,670 suspected reinfections.
“The authors detected a significant increase in reinfections since the first known case of omicron,” he said adding the reinfection risk profile of omicron was substantially higher than that associated with the beta and delta variants during the second and third waves.
“The study provides the first epidemiological evidence for Omicron ability to evade immunity from prior infection,” said Dr Nisar.
He said while those who had Covid-19 could get sick again with the new variant, vaccine still appears to offer protection against severe disease,” he said
“People who are unvaccinated should get the vaccine and those who have received both doses of Covid-19 vaccine should get the booster shot,” he added.
General Secretary DAK Dr Arshad Ali said booster doses would help broaden individual’s immune response against different variants of Covid.
“The higher levels of antibodies could keep the new variant at bay,” he said,
Spokesperson DAK Dr Riyaz Ahmad Dagga said while the current Covid vaccines still protect against the circulating variants, antibodies naturally wane over time, so booster dose is needed to ensure that the protection is maintained against the new variants.
“A booster shot is to increase the body’s antibody response to a virus after the immune system has been primed by the initial vaccination,” he said.
Many Countries like US and UK have started administering booster doses.
“We were devastated with Delta. Let us not give this virus a chance again,” he said adding that government should consider the booster shots now and not wait for the next iteration of the virus.