WHO: recovered not protected from omicron infection

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A survived Corona infection does not protect against infection with the new Omicron variant, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
“We think that previous infection does not protect against Omicron,” infectiologist Anne von Gottberg of South Africa’s National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) said Thursday at a press conference hosted by the WHO Africa Regional Office.

The question continues to be researched, the scientist said. However, initial observations suggest that people who have already been infected by Omicron could contract Covid-19 again. In that case, however, the symptoms are apparently often less severe. The existing Corona vaccines should continue to protect against severe disease, according to von Gottberg.

The variant was first detected in South Africa a week ago. It has 32 mutations compared to the previously common coronavirus. Meanwhile, the Omicron variant has already been detected in more than 20 countries, including Austria, according to WHO.

On Thursday, India reported the first two Omicron cases. In the southern state of Karnataka, two men aged 46 and 66 tested positive for the Corona variant, a health ministry official said. Now all their first- and second-degree contacts would also be tested.

The African Union Center for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) warned against panic over the new Omicron variant. “There is no need to panic,” Africa CDC chief John Nkengasong said at a press conference.

“We are not without protection.” While the AU is also concerned, he said, it “does not believe that the situation cannot be controlled.” His agency has been preparing for the emergence of a new Corona variant “for a long time,” Nkengasong emphasized.

Vaccination coverage in Africa is very low, with only seven percent of the 1.2 billion population fully vaccinated against Corona. This is due in particular to the inadequate supply of vaccines on the continent, as well as a pronounced vaccination skepticism in many places.

  • source: k.at/picture:pixabay.com
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