Omicron resulted in the third wave of COVID-19 pandemic in several countries. So far we all have been knowing that the Omicron, which was declared the ‘variant of concern’ by the World Health Organization, is highly contagious. It was even more contagious than the Delta variant. Now researchers have found how exactly it increases the chances of reinfection. According to a recent study, the risk of reinfection with the Omicron coronavirus variant is more than five times higher than other strains. The study was conducted by the Imperial College London.
According to data collected by the Health Security Agency of the United Kingdom, more than 6,50,000 people have probably been infected twice, and most of them were reinfected in the past two months.
Before mid-November, reinfections accounted for about 1 per cent of reported cases of Covid-19, but the rate has now increased to around 10 per cent.
Understanding reinfection rates is crucial for assessing “how infections might surge and if hospitals will be able to cope”, Catherine Bennett, an epidemiologist at Deakin was quoted as saying.
Health officials in the UK have also noticed that cases of reinfection increased in recent months. This was found during random sampling of households across the country. The survey counts a possible reinfection if four months have passed since the previous one.
It found reinfection risk was 16 times higher between mid-December last year and early January this year when Omicron dominated than in the seven months leading up to December when Delta was the dominant variant.
Such surveys could be underestimating the true rate of reinfection because some infections go undiagnosed, and some could have happened sooner after the first infection – especially in countries where cases of Omicron quickly followed a Delta wave, Bennett said.