Daily Management Review

Omicron Increases Neutralizing Immunity Against Delta, Says New South African Study


Omicron Increases Neutralizing Immunity Against Delta, Says New South African Study
Scientists of a new study emerging from South Africa claims to have discovered that an individual getting infected with the Omicron variant of the coronavirus also gains increased neutralizing immunity against the Delta variant, the strain of the coronavirus preceding Omicron and one that caused a massive number of serious illness and deaths all across the world earlier this year.
The study is however yet to be peer-reviewed.
According to scientists involved in the South African study, there was the development of increased immunity to the Delta variant of the coronavirus among people who had got infected by the Omicron variant and this observation was more prominent among those Omicron infected people who had been vaccinated.
The study comprised of 33 participants who were both vaccinated as well as unvaccinated and who were infected with the Omicron variant of the coronavirus, which was first identified in South Africa a few months ago.
During the research, scientists found that there was a 14-fold enhancement in the neutralization of Omicron over a period of 14 days since the participants got enrolled for the study while a 4.4 fold rise of Delta virus neutralization was also noted by the scientists among the participants.
"The increase in Delta variant neutralization in individuals infected with Omicron may result in a decreased ability of Delta to re-infect those individuals," the scientists said.
In the case that the Omicron variant turns out to actually be less pathogenic compared to the Delta variant, as is being perceived from data from South Africa, "this will help push Delta out", said Alex Sigal, a professor at the Africa Health Research Institute in South Africa, on Twitter on Monday.
A previous study from South Africa claimed that people infected with the Omicron variant of the coronavirus ran lower risks of hospitalization and severe disease in comparison to the people infected by the Delta variant. However, researchers of the study also noted that the lower pathogenic outcome of the Omicron variant was possiblly because of high population immunity to the coronavirus among the South African population.
The Omicron variant, originally discovered in November in South Africa and Hong Kong, has now spread throughout the world, threatening to overrun hospitals and disrupt travel plans throughout the holiday season.