Omicron spread and its correlation to achieving herd immunity against COVID19
~ Authored by Dr Farah Ingale, Director-Internal Medicine, Hiranandani Hospital, Vashi-A Fortis Network Hospital ~ Recently, researchers have introduced the idea that the Omicron variant could act as a 'natural vaccine'. Some of the researchers believe
~ Authored by Dr Farah Ingale, Director-Internal Medicine, Hiranandani Hospital, Vashi-A Fortis Network Hospital ~
Recently, researchers have introduced the idea that the Omicron variant could act as a ‘natural vaccine’. Some of the researchers believe that Omicron acting as a natural virus 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 and/ or have caught the COVID19 infection in the past, thereby building immunity against it.
Over the past two years, India has seen multiple variants of the COVID19 like Omicron, Delta, Alpha, etc. During the first two COVID19 waves, people learnt 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 comorbidities like Diabetes, Hypertension, Obesity, etc. 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.
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.
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, but there is no evidence on how long this immunity will protect our bodies. However, people should not get reckless, in hopes that immunity from vaccination or previous COVID19 infection would give them 100% protection; as the number of COVID19 cases are increasing rapidly in the country, we all need to always follow precautions and safety measures.
That said, we all should focus on vaccinating all eligible citizens and follow appropriate COVID19 norms within and beyond our households & workplaces. Even if Omicron can act as a natural vaccine, there is a possibility that it will not work on any future variants and thus, people should not believe until and unless there is strong proof to support the theory.