Omicron: Another 'more infectious variant will come' says doctor
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Omicron infections remain a concern with cases continually rising. A new study has delved further into these infections and have found a strong link between previous infections from COVID-19 and reinfection. In the study three groups were found to have the highest risk. Two thirds of people who catch Omicron have already had Covid, a new study has found.
Variant’s ability to dodge the immune system means reinfections have gone from a smaller proportion of all infections to a sizeable chunk.
These groups appear to be more likely to catch Covid again according to study results published in React.
The group includes healthcare workers, those with children or households with many people.
The study formulated the data by swap-testing thousands of volunteers in England. Real-time Assessment of Community Transmission findings
In the study real-time assessment of community transmission was further analysed.
The study is the most significant piece of research looking at how the COVID-19 pandemic is progressing in England.
This study looked at over 100,500 swab tests taken between 5 and 20 January, finding that Covid infections were declining in early January and then plateaued at a high level, with one in 23 infected during this period.
Infections were highest in 5-11-year-olds, and lowest in those aged 75 and above.
However, infections rose 12-fold in the oldest age group since December.
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The study noted: “Rapid transmission of the SARS-CoV-2 Omicron variant has led to the highest ever recorded case incidence levels in many countries around the world.
The REal-time Assessment of Community Transmission-1 (REACT-1) study has been characterising the transmission of the SARS-CoV-2 virus using RT-PCR test results from self-administered throat and nose swabs from randomly selected participants in England at ages five years and over and provide data on the temporal, socio-demographic and geographical spread of the virus, viral loads and viral genome sequence data for positive swabs.”
The study found that from 100,607 valid tests in round 17, weighted prevalence of swab positivity was 4.41 percent which was over three-fold higher than in December 2021 in England.
Of 1,406 sequenced positive swabs to 16 January 2022, 1392 (99.0 percent) were Omicron including 6 (0.43 percent) cases of BA.2 sub-lineage and only 14 (1.0 percent) were Delta. Among the 3,582 swab-positive individuals reporting whether or not they had had previous infection, 2,315 (64.6 percent) reported a confirmed previous infection, with an odds ratio of infection in round 17 of 10.7 (95 percent).
Risks of infection were also increased among people living in large households compared to single-person households, those in the most vs least deprived areas.
“We observed unprecedented levels of infection with SARS-CoV-2 in England in January 2022 and almost complete replacement of Delta by Omicron,” added the study.
It concluded that past infection was associated with high risk of reinfection with Omicron.
It is not yet clear how many of the volunteers who tested positive had been fully vaccinated.
Two out of every three (65 percent) of the infected volunteers said they had already previously tested positive for Covid.
Many of these could have been reinfected.
Although, in some instances, the latest PCR tests might be picking up old traces of virus.
According to the UK Health Security Agency, one in every 10 Omicron cases is a possible reinfection.
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