The unusual accumulation of infections with monkeypox viruses has alarmed the public in the past few days, less so the virologists.

The signs with the Sars-CoV-2 variant Omicron are exactly the opposite.

Large parts of the population have downgraded the pandemic risk to almost zero with their own omicron infection - if it is harmless - while the very term smallpox arouses the worst fears of an epidemic for many.

Joachim Müller-Jung

Editor in the feuilleton, responsible for the "Nature and Science" department.

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Not even the noticeable accumulation of vaccine breakthroughs in boosted Covid 19 victims is interpreted as a bad omen.

Motto: Corona can't do anything anymore.

At least with regard to the fully vaccinated and those infected with omicron, the hope is covered by studies.

The immune response after vaccination and infection is still impressive in terms of antibodies and T-cell response, at least that can be said for the first six months after the start of the first omicron wave.

The vaccinations also reduce the long-Covid risk by at least half, as was recently read in the "British Medical Journal".

In particular, the protection against serious illness and death after the first three and even more four doses of the vaccine is still high - around eighty percent are protected for a few months -,

It is this unique rate of evolution of Omikron, promoted by high case numbers and immunity gaps, that is currently not reducing the corona risk.

In addition, there is the gradually decreasing immunity of the people.

And all of this makes experts fear that the monkeypox viruses, which are easier to calculate and less versatile in many respects, will sooner or later recede into the background.

Omicron is the master of immune escape

Instead of ticking off the pandemic or wrongly considering the Covid-19 vaccines to be useless because of the vaccination breakthroughs, it is now a matter of further arming yourself against the virus.

Since the first wave of omicrons with subtype BA.1 has been through and has been replaced by other mutated subtypes such as BA.4, BA.5 and BA.2.12.1 (current preprint), which is currently raging in the USA, especially in South Africa, Asia and North America , there is no longer any doubt: Omicron is the master of immune escape.

Two of the subvariants have been classified as independent "Variants of Concern" in some countries - in Great Britain, for example.

None of the first variants classified as critical - from alpha to delta - have proven to be so adaptable.

Thus, the supposed harmlessness of Omikron is increasingly proving to be a fatal misjudgment.

Statistically speaking, immunologically reasonably healthy people can actually expect a milder course of Covid-19, and those who have been fully vaccinated anyway.

But that comes at a price.

Because the milder courses ensure an often weakening, unsatisfactory immune response.

The immune protection of those infected with BA.1 is more than poor, as a "Cell" study, a preprint on "Research Square" as well as a "Nature" publication and an evaluation of the US epidemic center recently showed.

Anyone who hopes that an omicron infection will provide longer immune protection for the new – and possible other variants – will be disappointed.

Even T-cell immunity, which is important in the fight against severe disease, is extremely fragile after previous omicron infection (without vaccination).

Statistically, you can actually expect a milder course of Covid-19, fully vaccinated anyway.

But that comes at a price.

Because the milder courses ensure an often weakening, unsatisfactory immune response.

The immune protection of those infected with BA.1 is more than poor, as a "Cell" study, a preprint on "Research Square" as well as a "Nature" publication and an evaluation of the US epidemic center recently showed.

Anyone who hopes that an omicron infection will provide longer immune protection for the new – and possible other variants – will be disappointed.

Even T-cell immunity, which is important in the fight against severe disease, is extremely fragile after previous omicron infection (without vaccination).

Statistically, you can actually expect a milder course of Covid-19, fully vaccinated anyway.

But that comes at a price.

Because the milder courses ensure an often weakening, unsatisfactory immune response.

The immune protection of those infected with BA.1 is more than poor, as a "Cell" study, a preprint on "Research Square" as well as a "Nature" publication and an evaluation of the US epidemic center recently showed.

Anyone who hopes that an omicron infection will provide longer immune protection for the new – and possible other variants – will be disappointed.

Even T-cell immunity, which is important in the fight against severe disease, is extremely fragile after previous omicron infection (without vaccination).

But that comes at a price.

Because the milder courses ensure an often weakening, unsatisfactory immune response.

The immune protection of those infected with BA.1 is more than poor, as a "Cell" study, a preprint on "Research Square" as well as a "Nature" publication and an evaluation of the US epidemic center recently showed.

Anyone who hopes that an omicron infection will provide longer immune protection for the new – and possible other variants – will be disappointed.

Even T-cell immunity, which is important in the fight against severe disease, is extremely fragile after previous omicron infection (without vaccination).

But that comes at a price.

Because the milder courses ensure an often weakening, unsatisfactory immune response.

The immune protection of those infected with BA.1 is more than poor, as a "Cell" study, a preprint on "Research Square" as well as a "Nature" publication and an evaluation of the US epidemic center recently showed.

Anyone who hopes that an omicron infection will provide longer immune protection for the new – and possible other variants – will be disappointed.

Even T-cell immunity, which is important in the fight against severe disease, is extremely fragile after previous omicron infection (without vaccination).

a preprint on "Research Square" as well as a "Nature" publication and an evaluation of the US epidemic center recently showed.

Anyone who hopes that an omicron infection will provide longer immune protection for the new – and possible other variants – will be disappointed.

Even T-cell immunity, which is important in the fight against severe disease, is extremely fragile after previous omicron infection (without vaccination).

a preprint on "Research Square" as well as a "Nature" publication and an evaluation of the US epidemic center recently showed.

Anyone who hopes that an omicron infection will provide longer immune protection for the new – and possible other variants – will be disappointed.

Even T-cell immunity, which is important in the fight against severe disease, is extremely fragile after previous omicron infection (without vaccination).

The immune escape arts of the virus, which have been documented many times (further current preprint publications on this here and here) and the risks of multiple infections have prompted the American health authorities to “urgently” recommend a fourth vaccination dose for people over fifty.

A development that is also conceivable in Germany given the alleged 77 million vaccine doses that are currently stored unused in Germany and are in danger of expiring.

Because the previous vaccines are still usable in the current Omicron wave.

But after the most recent neutralization studies with the latest omicron subvariants, immunologists and vaccine manufacturers doubt whether the vaccines currently being developed can still achieve proof of effectiveness beyond ninety percent in the fall.

It is therefore possible that, especially for the millions of vulnerable people, a passive vaccination with artificially generated monoclonal - ideally broad-acting - antibodies must be further developed quickly in order to be able to react quickly.

In the journal Cell, David Veesler and his team from the University of Washington presented successful laboratory tests with such biologically produced antibodies, which so far have cost over a thousand dollars per can.

And oral or nasal spray vaccines, such as those developed in the large Berlin virological institutes and successfully tested on hamsters according to a preprint study in "bioRxiv", also give hope - provided that the development progresses quickly and is further funded.

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