A study has determined catching Omicron could be beneficial for immunity against new strains in the future – as health officials say 1 in 10 Australians will catch the virus this wave.

The investigation, conducted in a South African laboratory, investigated the impacts of the variant in 15 people with a mix of vaccinated and unvaccinated participants.

Scientists at the Africa Health Research Institute in Durban determined Omicron could protect people against the more severe Delta strain and could be a safeguard for the future.

‘Such an outcome may have positive implications in terms of decreasing the COVID-19 burden of severe disease,’ the study says. 

A study has determined catching Omicron could be beneficial for immunity against new strains in the future - as health officials say 1 in 10 Australians will catch the virus this wave

A study has determined catching Omicron could be beneficial for immunity against new strains in the future - as health officials say 1 in 10 Australians will catch the virus this wave

A study has determined catching Omicron could be beneficial for immunity against new strains in the future – as health officials say 1 in 10 Australians will catch the virus this wave

The study showed infected participants developed an antibody response to the new strain that developed over two weeks.

Scientists also discovered that these antibodies had a tendency to neutralise the Delta variant, a significant breakthrough as the pandemic rolls on.

‘The increase in Delta variant neutralisation in individuals infected with Omicron may result in decreased ability of Delta to re-infect those individuals,’ the authors of the study wrote. 

While less infectious, Delta is significantly more deadly, and responsible for the most Covid-related deaths of any variant.

The South African study is yet to be peer reviewed, but Deakin University professor Catherine Bennett said it offered ‘hope’.

‘We don’t want anyone to have an infection if they can avoid it, but it might mean they can avoid landing up in hospital,’ she said. 

Scientists at the Africa Health Research Institute in Durban determined Omicron could protect people against the more severe Delta strain and could be a safeguard for the future

Scientists at the Africa Health Research Institute in Durban determined Omicron could protect people against the more severe Delta strain and could be a safeguard for the future

Scientists at the Africa Health Research Institute in Durban determined Omicron could protect people against the more severe Delta strain and could be a safeguard for the future

Covid cases in Australia are skyrocketing, largely due to how transmissible the new variant has proven to be, as NSW alone recorded 11,201 new cases on Wednesday.

State and federal officials have downplayed the severity of the new strain, with Dr Kerry Chant suggesting 1 in 10 residents will get the virus during the current wave.   

‘In the first wave, we may have 10 to 15 per cent of the community acquire it … COVID will then be with us for years to come and we are going to have to get used to that,’ Dr Chant said.

That would see between 800,000 and 1.2million people become infected this summer.

Dr Nick Coatsworth posted a lengthy rundown on his Facebook page identifying the need for unvaccinated Australians to get jabbed before becoming infected with the Omicron strain.

Covid cases in Australia are skyrocketing, largely due to how transmissable the new variant has proven to be, as NSW alone recorded 11,201 new cases on Wednesday

Covid cases in Australia are skyrocketing, largely due to how transmissable the new variant has proven to be, as NSW alone recorded 11,201 new cases on Wednesday

Covid cases in Australia are skyrocketing, largely due to how transmissable the new variant has proven to be, as NSW alone recorded 11,201 new cases on Wednesday

He said that even though Omicron has proven to be ‘milder’, there still poses a risk of severe illness or death for those not inoculated.  

‘Whilst we get record vaccination rates in Australia there are still a significant proportion, somewhere between 1 in 10 and 1 in 20 adult Australians, who have not yet made that choice,’ he said on Thursday.

‘It’s really important that we keep encouraging them to reconsider their position. I have found that gentle encouragement, directing people to credible sources of information, emphasising the individual and community benefits of vaccination to be very effective.

The ‘why?’ here is important. Even though the omicron variant in milder, it can and will still cause severe disease in those at risk. This means people who are older, have heart disease, diabetes or lung disease remain at high risk of intensive care admission or even death.’ 

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