Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Omicron reinfection possible, keep using masks, say health experts

0 comment

Top health experts have not ruled out the possibility of Omicron reinfection among people, which brings back the focus on Covid-appropriate behaviour and vaccination to check its spread and fatalities. Maharashtra Covid-19 task force member Dr Shashank Joshi told TOI, “Reinfection is something that we cannot ignore in Covid at all, irrespective of the variant. Even if people have recently recovered from an Omicron infection, they cannot take the risk of improper masking or no masking, because reinfection with the variant has still not been ruled out.”

Intensivist Dr Rahul Pandit, another member of the task force, said: “There is still no official Omicron reinfection case reported anywhere in India. But not following Covid-appropriate behaviour after recent Covid recovery is still not an option because one never knows what variant may surface in the future. Therefore, masking and physical distancing are a must to preclude any possible reinfections — whether from Omicron itself or any other SARS-CoV-2 variant.”

Microbiologist Dr Gagandeep Kang, however, said: “If we use the three-month period between two infections (initial infection and reinfection) as the definition of reinfection, then it will be some time before we have clear data on reinfection with Omicron. It is, however, certainly feasible, just as it was with other variants, for people to test positive twice or more. But, infection is defined by active replication and is harder to prove.”

In a recent tweet, Dr Eric Feigl-Ding, epidemiologist, health economist and a senior fellow at the Federation of American Scientists, had said: “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.”

Dr Sanjay Pujari from the ICMR National Task Force on Clinical Research for Covid-19 said, “New Omicron reinfection after a recent Omicron infection may be just anecdotal cases and must be extremely rare considering the overall burden of Omicron infections. We need to wait for stronger data. Since RT-PCR can be positive for a long period in some patients, it may also not indicate reinfection but residual non-infectious virus from the same infection.”(CNS)

Related Posts

Leave a Comment