Can Omicron give you super immunity against Covid-19? An expert answers

Published on: 23 February 2022, 09:39 am IST

Before reviving the hope of herd immunity against Covid-19, here’s the correlation between Omicron and lesser infection rate.

Has Omicron gifted the herd immunity to the human race? Image courtesy: Shutterstock
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Recently, researchers have introduced the idea that the Covid-19 variant Omicron could act as a ‘natural vaccine’. Some of the researchers believe that Omicron acting as a ‘mild variant’ might turn out to be a good thing eventually, while others disagree. The Omicron variant, which has an additional mutation than the Delta variant, is spreading rapidly across the world. Even though people are showing mild to no symptoms, hospitalization is drastically low in the people who have taken both doses of vaccination. This phenomenon could be attributed to the fact that most of our population is double vaccinated or have caught the infection in the past, thereby building immunity against Covid-19.

Over the past two years, India has seen multiple variants of the Covid-19 – Omicron, Delta, Alpha, etc. During the first two Covid-19 waves, people learned about the infection as days progressed. There was no ready reckoner to beat the infection. Vaccination drives helped in building immunity against the virus. This was especially true for senior citizens and those with co-morbidities like diabetes, hypertension, and obesity.

As observed in the third coronavirus wave in India, the new Omicron variant is five times more transmissible than its predecessors, but less severe. People are showing symptoms like cold, blocked nose, or fatigue. However, there is no reason to believe that the Omicron can act as a natural vaccine, or that immunity derived from it will last for a long period.

Can Omicron infection offer immunity against Covid-19?

People who catch the virus even after getting the vaccination develop immunity for several reasons. The vaccine allows the body to recognize the virus and create immunity against it. Also, while fighting an unknown virus sometimes, the body creates its own immunity. The more the body will fight the virus, the more it will produce a stronger immune response. But, what sounds better in the theory doesn’t mean it is completely true and works in the actual sense. There is no hard evidence to back the aforesaid theory.

covid-19 and Omicron
Omicron cases are increasingly rapidly across the world. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

What’s responsible for mild Covid-19 symptoms?

In India, many people who have been tested positive for the Omicron have taken two doses of vaccination. This can be a reason why they are showing mild symptoms, primarily because of vaccination-derived immunity. However, there is no evidence on how long this immunity will protect our bodies. Not to forget, people should not get reckless. One shouldn’t live in hopes that immunity from vaccination or previous Covid-19 infection would give them 100 percent protection. As the number of Covid-19 cases are increasing rapidly in the country, we all need to always follow precautions and safety measures.

How can we maintain immunity against Covid-19?

That said, we all should focus on vaccinating all eligible citizens. One needs to follow appropriate Covid-19 norms within and beyond our households and workplaces. Even if Omicron can act as a natural vaccine, there is a possibility that it will not work on any future variants. Thus, people should not believe until and unless there is strong proof to support the theory.

Dr Farah Ingale Dr Farah Ingale

Dr Farah Ingale Director-Internal Medicine Fortis Hiranandani Hospital, Vashi

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