Health

Many Americans intentionally infected with Omicron to create ‘hybrid immunity’


AmericaMany people intentionally infected Omicron to get antibodies from vaccines and viruses, but experts warned that this is dangerous behavior because nCov is “very unpredictable”.

Like many New Yorkers, Domenica D’Ottavio contracted Covid-19 over Christmas. Her head ached, her whole body ached. She also had a cough and a high fever. However, D’Ottavio felt a sense of relief. “You don’t realize it until you’ve recovered from the illness and aren’t so scared,” she says.

D’Ottavio is fully vaccinated, still cautiously wearing a mask and tested before returning to visit his mother. But she is also excited to plan a “post-Covid” trip to Florida for her sister’s birthday, going to bars without hesitation. She even shared a cup with a friend who had just recovered from Covid-19.

“We all thought of ourselves as superheroes who could do anything,” she said.

According to the New York Times database, the US currently records nearly 800,000 new cases every day, largely due to the rapidly spreading strain of Omicron. The actual number of infections may be higher because so many patients do not report it. While many F0s are recovering, Omicron still poses a risk to unvaccinated people, putting enormous pressure on hospitals and healthcare workers.

However, in people who have received two or three doses of the vaccine, Omicron infection is a milder experience. They think that they are injected with a “natural vaccine”, boosting the immune system in a short time. Scientists call this “hybrid immunity” – a combination of antibodies from a vaccine and also a breakthrough viral infection.

The number of searches for the term “super immune” on Google in the US has increased by 550% over the past three months, with “hybrid immunity” alone increasing 230%.

Doctors and experts agree this phenomenon creates an extra layer of protection against viruses. But they advise people to be cautious, noting that antibody resistance varies depending on the individual’s condition and can weaken over time.

“This is the most effective type of immunity. But I don’t think it can completely stop the virus in any situation,” said Shane Crotty, a virologist at La Jolla Institute of Immunology.

Medical staff at Singing River Hospital, USA, care for a Covid-19 patient. Photo: NY Times

Experts also warn people Do not intentionally infect nCoV to achieve hybrid immunity. Dr. Celine Gounder, infectious disease specialist at Bellevue Hospital Center, said: “I’m really worried that people are intentionally getting sick to have this ‘new normal’. The virus is unpredictable, even young people can get very sick. They will have to be hospitalized if something goes wrong.”

In addition, a breakthrough nCoV infection can still leave sequelae, also known as prolonged Covid-19.

Dr. Peter Chin-Hong, an infectious disease expert at the University of California, San Francisco, said the breakthrough nCoV infection could serve as a fourth dose of vaccine. Hybrid immunity also occurs with people with Covid- 19. 19 before vaccination.

The first time someone gets a vaccine or gets a virus, it takes a while for the body to respond. However, the immune system has a long-term memory. It responds faster, producing more antibodies at the next injection or viral infection.

A recent study found that vaccinated healthcare workers with a breakthrough nCoV infection had significantly higher levels of antibodies than a control group, which did not naturally contract the disease. This finding shows that the body’s defense mechanism against the virus is stronger after a breakthrough nCoV infection, according to Fikadu Tafesse, an immunologist at the Oregon Health and Science University.

Song The effectiveness of antibodies after a breakthrough nCoV infection varies from person to person. The elderly, immunocompromised patients or those with underlying medical conditions produce fewer antibodies. It is not clear whether the severity of the breakthrough nCoV infection is directly proportional to the amount of antibodies. According to Dr. Akiko Iwasak, an immunologist at Yale University, patients with severe symptoms may be exposed to larger amounts of the virus, which in turn activates more antibodies. Asymptomatic F0 has a weak immune response and is prone to reinfection.

“It’s a bit early to go back to life like it was in 2019, before the pandemic. It’s pretty unlucky because you don’t know how many antibodies you’ve made,” said Dr. Iwasaki.

According to Dr. Adam Ratner, director of the pediatric infectious disease division at Hassenfeld Children’s Hospital, for a certain period of time, people recovering from a breakthrough nCoV infection are “almost safe from the virus”.

However, experts are not sure how long immunity from mild or asymptomatic illness will last. They warn patients can still contract new strains in the future. Jennifer Gommerman, an immunologist at the University of Toronto, said many people who had been vaccinated and had a breakthrough Delta infection were still re-infected with Omicron.

Thuc Linh (Follow NY Times)

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