If the 3-G rules are now falling everywhere, but the incidences are still high, social distancing and wearing a mask remain to protect against infection with SARS-CoV-2.

And of course the hope that as many people in the area as possible are vaccinated against the corona virus.

In a recent study, scientists from the University of Geneva provide convincing evidence that vaccinations can not only protect against serious illnesses or even death, but that vaccinated people are also less contagious for others if they become infected despite a vaccination.

The research group led by Isabella Eckerle and Benjamin Meyer reports in the journal "Nature Medicine" on their investigations into viral load in connection with the respective vaccination status and, for the first time, also the different virus variants of the test subjects.

Viral load affects how easily the pathogen is transmitted.

A total of 565 specimens were included in this study, of which 118 were from patients infected with an earlier virus variant, another 293 specimens were from Delta infected people and 154 nasopharyngeal swabs were from omicron-affected individuals - all suffering from symptoms .

Of the latter, to give an exact ratio, 91 were at least fully vaccinated before becoming infected, 30 had also already received a booster booster, while 33 Omicron-infected people were unvaccinated.

The effect of the vaccinations was not only evident in the symptoms, which has already been proven several times in previous studies, but also in the viral load: in the case of the Delta variant, for example, the difference between the fully vaccinated compared to the unvaccinated was already significant, their viral load significantly lower.

In this way, the vaccines not only protect the vaccinated themselves from disease, but also protect everyone else who benefits from a reduced risk of infection.

For the Omikron variant, the result was somewhat sobering in this respect, but the vaccinations are by no means ineffective in terms of foreign protection.

However, with Omikron it is only the third vaccination, i.e. the booster, that makes a difference when infecting others.

Comparing the variants, the Geneva researchers also discovered that the viral load in vaccinated people is lower when they become infected with omicron than when the vaccine breakthroughs were caused by pathogens of the delta variant.

The high infectivity of omicron must therefore be due to other mechanisms, they conclude.

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