(ORDO NEWS) — According to a study by an international team of scientists, natural immunity induced by SARS-CoV-2 infection provides strong protection against reinfection with any SARS-CoV-2 variant (except the Omicron strain) for 16 months or longer.
Protection against infection with the virus weakens over time, but immunity from a previous infection prevents the development of severe symptoms of COVID-19, and this protection does not weaken over time.
Natural immunity after Delta and Alpha variants persists for years
A study conducted by an international team of scientists , which analyzes all cases of diseases in the population of Qatar, showed encouraging results.
If a person has been ill with the Delta or Alpha variant or an earlier variant, their immunity will last at least 16 months, and possibly much longer. A person may be infected, but the disease will be mild or asymptomatic.
While the world is likely to continue to suffer waves of SARS-CoV-2 infection, future surges will not leave hospitals overwhelmed with people with COVID-19.
Better late than never
But the scientists also warn that the results of the study do not mean infected people can skip vaccinations.
A separate study found that “People who had natural immunity and were also vaccinated were significantly better protected against the virus than people who had only natural immunity or just the vaccination.”
But there is also Omicron
Scientists specifically identified and described the likelihood of infection with the Omicron variant after the patient had already had the previous strain (most often Delta or Alpha) and developed natural immunity.
Such immunity is only 38% effective from Omicron. This means that the likelihood of infection and even an acute form increases. (But not as spicy as the Delta – the Omicron version is pretty “soft” on its own.)
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