Omicron Infection Boosts Immune System, Protects Against Future COVID Variants: Study

People infected with Omicron develop strong immune response, reducing risk of severe symptoms from future strains.

<p>New variants of COVID-19 are continuously emerging and this study suggests the human immune system is changing to combat this. FUSION MEDICAL ANIMATION ON UNSPLASH.</p>

People infected with Omicron coronavirus have a stronger immune system and are unlikely to suffer from future COVID-19 strains, a new study has found.


 The research shows that pNew variants of COVID-19(a new type of coronavirus known as severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2)are continuously emerging and this study suggests the human immune system is changing to combat this.eople who were infected by Omicron are unlikely to ever suffer severe COVID-19 symptoms from future variants, as their body remembers how to fight it off.


After becoming infected or vaccinated, the body creates neutralizing antibodies and memory T cells – are specific to antigens that stick around for a long time after an infection has been eradicated – against the virus. While memory T cells cannot prevent the infection, they can quickly search and destroy infected cells, preventing the viral infection from progressing into a severe disease.


The team of South Korean scientists, from the Institute for Basic Science, discovered that the memory T cells that form during the Omicron breakthrough infection will respond to future strains of the virus.


“This finding gives us new perspectives in the new era of COVID endemic. It can be understood that in response to constant emergence of new virus variants, our bodies have also adapted to combat the future strains of the virus,” said Research Fellow JUNG Min Kyung.


To get their results they selected patients who suffered then recovered from BA.2 Omicron breakthrough infection in early 2022 and conducted studies on their memory T cells.


They found that these patients showed heightened response against not only the BA.2 strain but the later BA.4 and BA.5 strains of Omicron as well.

By suffering from breakthrough infection, these patients’ immune system was strengthened to combat future strains of the same virus.


These results, published in the journal Science Immunology, show that once a person undergoes breakthrough infection by the Omicron infection, it is unlikely for them to ever suffer severe COVID-19 symptoms from the future emerging variants.


“This new finding can also be applied to vaccine development. By searching for common features among the current dominant strain and emerging new strains of viruses, there may be higher chances to induce memory T cell defenses against the subsequent variants,” said Professor SHIN Eui-Cheol.

Produced in association with SWNS Talker