Antibodies generated after having coronavirus they do not prevent the person from being infected again with the omicron variant, said a researcher on Thursday during a press conference with the Africa section of the World Health Organization (WHO).
Last week, South African researchers announced that they had detected a new variant of the coronavirus and the news caused a worldwide panic.
Many unknowns remain about the characteristics of omicron, its ability to spread and its resistance to vaccines.
“We think that a previous contagion does not protect against omicron,” said Anne von Gottberg, an infectious disease expert at the South African National Institute of Communicable Diseases (NICD).
The investigation is still beginning, but the first conclusions show that people who had already passed the coronavirus they have been able to suffer it again due to this mutation of the virus, often with less severe symptoms, the researcher stressed.
Vaccines, however, should remain effective against severe forms of the disease, he said.
The variant is already present in at least 22 countries and in Africa, the number of official cases of covid-19 increased by 54% in the last seven days compared to the previous week.
Two weeks ago, Africa reported 300 new cases a day. On Wednesday it posted 8,561, compared to 4,373 on Tuesday.
“We don’t know where this variant comes from,” said WHO expert Ambrose Talisuna. South Africa and neighboring countries were penalized with travel restrictions after announcing that they had discovered this variant.
The WHO has stressed that these restrictions are “unfair” and are not based on any scientific consideration.
Melissa Galbraith is the World News reporter for Globe Live Media. She covers all the major events happening around the World. From Europe to Americas, from Asia to Antarctica, Melissa covers it all. Never miss another Major World Event by bookmarking her author page right here.