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Health & Fitness Covid testing: Concerns that Omicron could infect people who recently had Delta leads to PCR guidance change

19:07  01 december  2021
19:07  01 december  2021 Source:   inews.co.uk

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  Hispanics and younger adults more likely to contract Delta variant Adults between ages 18 and 44 accounted for more than half of positive Delta specimens at 55.3% compared to other age groups while Hispanic Americans made up 39.4% of infections.Researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that the variant accounted for 95 percent of Covid cases that underwent genome sequencing at Kaiser Permanente Southern California (KPSC) as of July 21.

Anyone who develops symptoms of Covid-19 should take a test even if they have just recovered from the virus, the government has said, amid concerns that recent covid infection does not offer protection from the Omicron variant.

New guidance published by the UK Health Security Agency suggests people who have tested positive for Delta or another covid variant within the last 90 days could still contract the new strain.

People who develop new symptoms even after testing positive in the last three months should take a PCR test, and if it is positive they should self-isolate in the normal way.

The updated guidance comes as scientists investigate whether the Omicron variant can evade the immunity built up through vaccination or from previous infection from other strains of covid.

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  Now there's ANOTHER off-shoot of the Delta variant The new sub-strain, called AY.43, has already been spotted 8,138 times in England, according to the latest data from one of the country's largest surveillance centres (shown in yellow).The new sub-strain, called AY.43, has already been spotted 8,138 times in England, according to the latest data from one of the country's largest surveillance centres.

The World Health Organisation has also expressed concerns that previous covid infection will not provide immunity against Omicron.

Previously it was assumed that contracting Covid-19 would give immunity from reinfection for at least three months, but the Omicron variant’s many mutations, some of which are associated with immune escape, have caused concern that an individual’s antibodies cannot “recognise” the new strain.

While it is too early for scientists to offer conclusive evidence that Omicron can escape immunity, there are laboratory trials underway to test the new strain against existing covid antibodies.

Until this evidence can be produced, hopefully in around two weeks, the UKHSA is issuing the new guidance on a precautionary basis.

Did vaccine inequity cause the emergence of Omicron?

  Did vaccine inequity cause the emergence of Omicron? Immunity experts explain how new virus variants emergeThe emergence of a new SARS-CoV-2 variant of concern, Omicron, has reignited global discussions of vaccine distribution, virus mutation, and immunity against new virus strains.

What do we know about the Omicron variant so far?

  • The Omicron variant, first reported on by i, was identified last week. It has an unusually high number of mutations, and scientists believe that some of those mutations are likely to increase transmissibility and vaccine resistance.
  • South Africa doctors say the symptoms they have seen so far have been mild, but that data is still too limited to draw any conclusions.
  • More than 22 cases have been identified in the UK, with some indication of community transmission.
  • The UK has taken the precaution of blocking flights from ten countries, while also requiring face masks in shops and on public transport from Tuesday. Booster jabs are expected to be approved for under-40s as well.

In a statement on Sunday, the WHO said there is early evidence of “an increased risk of reinfection with Omicron”.

Close contacts of identified Omicron cases in the UK are advised to self-isolate for 10 days and take a PCR test.

The new UK government advice states: “If you have previously received a positive Covid-19 PCR test result you are not usually advised to be re-tested within 90 days of this result.

“However, you should have a PCR test within 90 days of a previous positive PCR test if: you develop any new symptoms of Covid-19; you are a close contact of someone who has been identified as a suspected or confirmed case of the Omicron variant of Covid-19; you are required to take a PCR test upon entry into the UK.

“If you are tested within 90 days of a positive PCR test result for any of these 3 reasons, and the PCR test result is positive, you must stay at home, self-isolate and follow the stay at home guidance.”

Omicron Covid-19 variant: how worried should we be, and will Christmas be cancelled? .
Cases of Omicron are doubling every two to three days, much more rapidly than Delta . A further 1,239 Omicron cases were reported in the UK on Sunday, bringing the total to 3,137. To put this into context, there was a total of just three confirmed cases two weeks ago. Scientists have predicted it will be the dominant variant in the UK by the middle of this month.

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