Covid shows no sign of abating, it is running faster and faster in Italy despite the heat. The Campania region recorded a record infection, with cases doubling in the past week (+81.8%), while Naples took the first place with the highest rate in Italy at 1,433 cases per 100,000 inhabitants. To be responsible for this new wave is the Omicron BA5 sub variant, which is more contagious than its “sisters” due to two mutations that allow it to bind to human cells more effectively, and thus with a previously unseen ability to evade immunity acquired with a vaccine or previous infection. But how long does immunity last after recovery and what is the probability of being infected again with Omicron? They teamed up with Alessandro Perella, MD, director of the University of Oklahoma for Infectious and Highly Infectious Diseases at Cotogno Hospital in Naples.
Dr. Perrella, Omicron 5 is now the dominant alternative. It’s more contagious than its predecessors, but apparently less aggressive than Delta. What symptoms does she have, and how dangerous is the infection today?
Omicron 5 has the advantage of being more prevalent and widespread than the others, an evolutionary advantage that gives the virus a greater chance of spreading. Clinically characterized in most cases by symptoms influenza-like syndrome With infection of the upper airways, in some cases symptoms of gastroenteritis. These symptoms are of greater clinical importance in people with comorbidities and therefore fragility.”
How likely is re-infection and after when? Are there people at greater risk of reinfection or factors that make them more predisposed?
“Unfortunately, re-infection from one variant to another is possible in many cases with minor symptoms, but much depends on the individual’s immune heritage. The individual’s fragility, due to age or co-morbidity, confers the possibility of more relevant symptoms.”
How long does immunity last after recovering from illness?
“That’s a good question. Theoretically, it should last for years, but with so many variants coming in, it’s like we’re both in the presence of the same virus but have mutated big enough to evade the previous immune response to the antibody and start a new immune response, as if it were a new infection.” “.
Why hasn’t heat slowed down infections this year?
“The heat never stopped the infection. If you look at the data, you can see that even in the summer of 2020 and 2021 there were increases due to mobility.”
Do you think we should go back to wearing the mask indoors and outdoors?
“A mask is an essential guarantee when it can’t guarantee distancing.”
What is the fall scenario that awaits us?
“It is hard to say now, for sure the wave we are seeing will stop, but there could be a recovery with greater movement in the summer, with possible repercussions in the weeks of late summer/early fall. In general, however, it must be said that the severity of clinical manifestations Very different and less risky than the scenarios that prevailed two years ago.”