A large group of South Africa-based scientists led by the Africa Health Research Institute recently uploaded study results that indicate the new super mutant of SARS-CoV-2, Omicron, strengthens the neutralizing immunity in response to the previously dominant Delta variant of COVID-19. Not yet peer-reviewed, this study shouldn’t be used as scientific or medical evidence as of yet but nonetheless introduces important new data for consideration.  Involving 33 enrolled vaccinated and unvaccinated persons infected with Omicron, the investigators found that these individuals developed stronger immunity to the powerful Delta variant of concern.

More specifically, the study authors discuss their findings: the highly transmissible yet seemingly milder Omicron demonstrated 14 days after enrollment a 14-fold boost in neutralization against Omicron with a 4.4 fold boost of neutralization to the Delta variant. This could represent good news as the study team wrote these findings along with emerging Omicron study data finding that this strain seems “less pathogenic than Delta which may overall decrease severe disease burden. Could Omicron represent the beginning of the end of COVID-19?

Commenting on the results, the scientists report, “The increase in Delta variant neutralization in individuals infected with Omicron may result in decreased ability of Delta to re-infect those individuals.”

Alex Sigal served as the study team’s corresponding author.  A faculty member at the Africa Health Research Institute, he also is employed as an associated professor at the University of KwaZulu and has centered his recent research on the study of SARS-CoV-2 evolution as well as HIV. Dr. Sigal’s laboratory was the first to isolate the beta variant.Subscribe to the Trialsitenews “SARS-CoV-2” ChannelNo spam – we promise

What is the Africa Health Research Institute?

Called the AHRI, this independent, transdisciplinary scientific research institute is based across two campuses in the province of KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa. Focusing on population, social and medical sciences, the AHRI works to better understand and intervene in the health and well-being of South African communities.  

This research center collaborates with government, academia, and other policy stakeholders with at least 60 collaborations worldwide. AHRI employs approximately 500 scientists, students, and staff members. TrialSite provides a link to the preprint server now also uploaded to MedXriv. The findings must now be reviewed rigorously along with steady, independent, and unbiased observation of other findings.

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