BA.5, along with BA.4 and other sub-versions, is said to be behind the current surge in infections seen in several countries including India, China, the US and European countries, especially the UK and Italy.
It has been a common belief during pandemics that being infected with a COVID variant provides a natural immunity boost, which helps one’s immune system better recognize and defend against future infections.
However, Omicron BA.5 proves to be different, with many researchers dubbing it “the most easily transmitted COVID variant ever”.
“The main reason this variant has become dominant that is now circulating is that it is able to evade past immunity,” said Dean Blumberg, chief of pediatric infectious diseases at the University of California, Davis, Children’s Hospital. “Even people who have partial immunity from previous infection or vaccination can still have a successful infection.”
This means that even if you were infected with Delta or Omicron BA.1 last winter in 2020, you can still get BA.5. Your past immunity doesn’t protect you from the latest stress.
Western Australia’s Chief Health Officer Andrew Robertson told News.com.au: “What we are seeing is an increasing number of people who have been infected with BA.2 and then become infected after four weeks. “
“So maybe six to eight weeks they’re developing a second infection, and it’s almost certainly BA.4 or BA.5,” he said.
This can be explained by a recent study published in the journal Science, which showed that Omicron provides a poor natural boost of COVID immunity against re-infection even in people who have been triple-vaccinated with Omicron.
Researchers at Imperial College London called BA.5 “a particularly latent immunity thief”.
“Not only can it break through the vaccine’s defenses, it leaves very few hallmarks that we’d expect on the immune system — it’s more secretive than previous variants and flies under the radar, so the immune system can detect it.” is unable to remember,” said Danny Altman, a professor in the Department of Immunology and Inflammation at Imperial.
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