Omicron in a continuous loop: renewed infection possible

The omicron variant causes high numbers of infections in Germany. Those who have recovered and those who have been vaccinated can also become infected with the virus, but the COVID-19 diseases are usually milder then. Anyone who was infected with Corona is officially considered recovered for three months. But recovered is not immune: Anyone who had omicron or another virus variant can become infected again.

Reinfection with the omicron variant cannot be ruled out. Those who have recovered can also become infected again.

Those who have recovered can become ill several times due to omicrons

The Robert Koch Institute has already shortened the recovered status from six months to three due to the omicron variant. The reason for this measure is the high risk of reinfection with the new variant. According to initial evaluations, the probability of a renewed infection is three times higher than with previous mutations.

Due to various changes in the virus structure, Omicron is not only significantly more contagious than previous variants, the virus has another decisive advantage: It has a better immune escape.

 Immune escape, also known as immune evasion, is the ability of a virus to evade it using mutations in the  immune system. Omicron therefore more easily escapes antibodies that have already been formed, which were formed as a result of a vaccination or previous infection.

Since other mechanisms provide protection in addition to the antibodies, which act as the first line of defense of the immune system, vaccination or previous infection can usually still prevent severe COVID-19 courses.

The high level of infectivity in combination with the immune escape makes it easier to reinfect: Anyone who has already been infected with  corona  can become infected again. Even an omicron infection does not protect against another one.

Omicron: caution is still required

A vaccination or previous illness does not always protect against an infection with omicron. It is therefore advisable to continue to comply with the AHA rules, to reduce contacts as much as possible and to prevent infection and thus transmission to others through regular testing.

Those who have recovered and have not yet received a vaccination are urgently advised to carry out the corona vaccination. This is possible as early as four weeks after an infection, provided that there are no longer any symptoms.

 

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