Can you get Omicron twice? Possible, say epidemiologists

If the first Omicron was not severe and the immune system does not get stimulated enough, then it is possible to get Omicron twice, epidemiologist Eric Feigl-Ding said.
Getting Omicron twice is possible as the first infection may not induce fantastic immunity, experts said. (REUTERS)
Getting Omicron twice is possible as the first infection may not induce fantastic immunity, experts said. (REUTERS)
Published on Jan 15, 2022 04:26 PM IST
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By | Written by Poulomi Ghosh

Omicron, the latest and the fastest-spreading variant of SARS-CoV-2, can infect the same person twice and it may not be very rare, experts said as the world is grappling with a fresh wave of the two-year-old pandemic, presently being driven by the Omicron. US epidemiologist Eric Feigl-Ding said Omicron reinfection is certainly possible if the first Omicron infection was of a 'low-dose' that did not stimulate the immune system enough. Another condition for Omicron reinfection could be heavily compromised immunity.

"There are lots of recent anecdotes about new Omicron reinfections after a recent Omicron infection. It’s certainly possible if your first Omicron infection was a low-dose one that didn’t stimulate your immune system enough or if you’re immunocompromised. Be careful folks," the epidemiologist tweeted.

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The world is familiar with Covid reinfection as in the subsequent waves of the pandemic it was found that people who have got infected once also stand at the risk of reinfection. It is also not new that people vaccinated against Covid are also contracting the infection again as the vaccines are not disease-preventing, but offer protection from severity and mortality. Reinfection by Omicron is a relatively new idea as Omicron is the variant active in the present wave. If people are getting reinfected by Omicron, it means they are getting the infection in a very short span of time. Natural immunity that the body develops after one infection should last at least seven to nine months. But Omicron reinfection indicates getting infected twice in a quick interval.

People who have been earlier infected with earlier variants of Covid can certainly get Omicron. People can even get infected by Omicron twice. “Omicron is highly contagious and it would appear to not induce fantastic protective immunity,” Stanley Weiss, M.D., professor at the Rutgers New Jersey Medical School and the Department of Epidemiology at the Rutgers School of Public Health, said.

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Sunday, January 16, 2022