South Africa study suggests Omicron enhances neutralising immunity against Delta

Published December 28, 2021
A healthcare worker administers a dose of a Covid-19 vaccine to a teenager, amidst the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 variant Omicron, in Johannesburg, South Africa on Dec 9, 2021. — Reuters
A healthcare worker administers a dose of a Covid-19 vaccine to a teenager, amidst the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 variant Omicron, in Johannesburg, South Africa on Dec 9, 2021. — Reuters

Research by South African scientists suggests that Omicron infection enhances neutralising immunity against the Delta variant of the coronavirus.

The study, which has not been peer-reviewed, found that people who were infected with Omicron, especially those who were vaccinated, developed enhanced immunity to the Delta variant.

The analysis enrolled 33 vaccinated and unvaccinated people who were infected with the Omicron variant in South Africa.

While the authors found that the neutralisation of Omicron increased 14-fold over 14 days after the enrollment, they also found that there was a 4.4 fold increase of Delta virus neutralisation.

Also read: Omicron spreads faster and weakens jabs: WHO

“The increase in Delta variant neutralisation in individuals infected with Omicron may result in decreased ability of Delta to re-infect those individuals,” the scientists said.

Alex Sigal, a professor at the Africa Health Research Institute in South Africa, said on Twitter on Monday that if Omicron was less pathogenic as it looked from the South African experience, “this will help push Delta out”.

According to an earlier South African study, there is a reduced risk of hospitalisation and severe disease in people infected with the Omicron coronavirus variant compared with the Delta one, though the authors say some of that is likely due to high population immunity.

The Omicron variant, first detected in southern Africa and Hong Kong in November, has since spread worldwide and threatened to overwhelm hospitals and disrupt travel plans this holiday week.

Opinion

Editorial

Losing grip
Updated 29 Jan, 2023

Losing grip

The state and the government are responsible for providing Imran with the security he deserves as a former prime minister.
Telling silence
Updated 29 Jan, 2023

Telling silence

THE silence of the Sindh government over the recent exposé in this paper about Karachi’s water tanker mafia ...
Palestine escalation
29 Jan, 2023

Palestine escalation

THE fire of conflict once again threatens to envelop the land of Palestine, as the growing cycle of violence refuses...
IMF package
Updated 28 Jan, 2023

IMF package

While it is crucial to seek immediate IMF funding to shore up its reserves, the govt shouldn’t focus only on short-term relief.
Dar unpegged
28 Jan, 2023

Dar unpegged

IT is over. Nearly four months after Ishaq Dar descended on the cash-strapped economy with some decidedly outlandish...
Lurking hazards
28 Jan, 2023

Lurking hazards

OVERSIGHT of illegal industrial activity occurring within residential areas in the country is weak, especially in...