The study’s findings come amid a renewed surge in Covid infections in South Africa, with experts warning a new wave could be looming in the coming months
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New Omicron sublineages show ability to evade antibodies from previous infections, new Covid study has found.
But the deadly virus is far less able to thrive in the blood of vaccinated people.
Experts at a South African lab believe this could signal a new wave of infections in the country in the coming months, as only 30 percent of the population is fully stung.
Blood samples from people infected with the original Omicron variant showed a large drop in neutralizing antibody production when tested against sublineages BA.4 and BA.5, discovered in South Africa this month.
“The low absolute neutralization values for BA.4 and BA.5, particularly in the unvaccinated group, probably do not protect well against symptomatic infection,” the researchers said.
SIPA USA/PA images)
“This could indicate that BA.4 and BA.5 have the potential to lead to a new wave of infection due to the neutralization flight.”
As of Saturday, South Africa recorded 6,527 new cases and a 21.5% test positivity rate.
Scientists from several institutions studied the Omicron sublines BA.4 and BA.5, which the World Health Organization recently added to its watch list.
They took blood samples from 39 participants who had previously been infected with Omicron when it first emerged late last year.
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Fifteen were vaccinated – eight with Pfizer’s shots, seven with Johnson & Johnson’s – while the other 24 were not vaccinated.
“The vaccinated group showed about a 5-fold higher neutralization capacity and should be better protected,” they added.
In the unvaccinated samples, there was a nearly eight-fold decrease in antibody production when exposed to BA.4 and BA.5 compared to the original BA.1 Omicron line.
The blood of the vaccinated persons showed a three-fold decrease.
South Africa could enter a fifth Covid wave sooner than expected, officials and scientists announced on Friday.
They blame a “sustained” rise in infections that appear to be being driven by the Omicron subvariants BA.4 and BA.5.
Only about 30% of South Africa’s 60 million people are fully vaccinated.
https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/world-news/new-omicron-variants-can-dodge-26843014 New Omicron Variants May Evade Infectious Antibodies, But Vaccines Help, Study Suggests - World News