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November 30, 2021 It is possible that the current vaccines protect against the new Omicron variant, but there are signs of a possible risk of new infections in those recovered from Covid: overall, the South African doctors of the NICD (National Institute of Infectious Diseases of South Africa) express cautious optimism, waiting for more complete data. 

The Doctors of the South African institute - from the country where the variant was first identified - and of the Spallanzani of Rome were compared in a teleconference to make an epidemiological picture on Omicron. Even according to the experts of the Roman hospital, it is still too early to have a precise picture: "The epidemiological data are not currently able to suggest or confirm a possible increase in infections among vaccinated people". It is therefore possible that vaccines "retain their protective capacity against serious disease, even in the presence of the new variant". 

No alerts on transmissibility growth

Also on the front of the so-called transmissibility, the NICD doctors call for caution: "At the moment the colleagues have not highlighted any warning signs regarding a possible increase in transmissibility and clinical severity". A cautious optimism from South African doctors, despite "the growing trend in the number of new cases of SARS-CoV-2 infection - in the last three weeks - comparable to that already observed previously with the spread of new variants in the population".

Omicron, "risk of reinfection in healed"

Instead, there would be signs of a "possible risk of new infection sustained by this new variant, in people recovered from COVID-19".

This is what the NICD experts reported to the colleagues of the Spallanzani task force.

"The current epidemiological situation - concluded the South African doctors - will in any case need to be monitored carefully". 

Finally, the Spallanzani Institute "dutifully thanked the NICD researchers for making the isolated viral strain available".