Is there a delta shock after Omicron?

With a view to the omicron variant, many people assume that the pandemic will end soon. But research urges caution: Although Omicron is currently asserting itself against other virus variants and mostly causes mild courses, new virus mutations or already known variants could outstrip Omicron.

The Delta variant in particular, which was responsible for the fourth wave last year, could return even stronger. Relaxation and lifting of the corona measures should therefore be viewed critically.

Omikron not the end yet: Delta comeback and other variants possible

Researchers warn of a spread: because  herd immunity  remains unlikely, despite vaccination and many new infections. Despite the high number of infections and many people who have recovered, this does not mean the end of the  pandemic .

Initial studies show that mild courses with Omikron do not offer sufficient protection against renewed infections and other virus variants. Unvaccinated people in particular only achieve a low antibody level and are not immune to reinfection and other virus variants. Due to the low antibody titer, an infection cannot replace a booster vaccination.

Richard Neher, leading expert on virus variants at the University of Basel, does not rule out a comeback of the infectious Delta variant due to the lack of protection against variants in an interview at the university: “It is possible, for example, that Delta will come back. Delta is a highly contagious variant , which after some time, when the immunity has decreased, could have an advantage again over Omicron. Unfortunately, Delta more often leads to severe cases. Or we see a new variant with unknown properties. So we must continue to closely monitor the development and emergence of new variants “, says Richard Neher. According to the expert, worldwide screening is particularly important in order to be able to prevent further waves and serious illnesses in the future.

Health Minister Karl Lauterbach also warns in the Bild newspaper of a possible delta mutation or a return of the virus variant. In addition to previous variants, new virus mutations or combined corona viruses could occur.

Reason for low immunity: Omicron only one serotype

The genetic structure of omicron could possibly be the reason why people who have recovered form only a low level of immunity against other virus variants.

Omicron can be called the serotype of the virus. This is a subspecies of a virus or pathogen, which, however, differs very clearly from other variants in its surface structure and itself forms new subvariants. This also includes the BA.2 subtype, which caused high numbers of infections in Great Britain and Denmark in particular.

Due to the clear genetic differences, it is therefore possible that, despite previous infections with omicron, there is insufficient protection against other virus variants such as alpha or delta.

According to current knowledge, a full vaccination plus a booster still offer the best protection against severe courses.

Reason for low immunity: Omicron only one serotype

The genetic structure of omicron could possibly be the reason why people who have recovered form only a low level of immunity against other virus variants.

So, omicron can be called the serotype of the virus. This is a subspecies of a virus or pathogen, which, however, differs very clearly from other variants in its surface structure and itself forms new subvariants. This also applies to the BA.2 subtype, which caused high numbers of infections in Great Britain and Denmark in particular.

Due to the clear genetic differences, it is therefore possible that, despite previous infections with omicron, there is insufficient protection against other virus variants such as alpha or delta.

According to current knowledge, a full vaccination plus a booster still offer the best protection against severe courses.

 

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