Can a person have both Omicron and Delta infections?

Can a person have both Omicron and Delta infections?  - Photo 1.

A sign advises people to keep their distance, wear masks and wash their hands to prevent COVID-19 – Photo: REUTERS

New Zealand experts explained this in an article published March 15 on stuff.co.nz, New Zealand’s most popular news website.

According to infectious disease physician Kurt Krause, professor of biochemistry at the University of Otago, a person can contract both variants at the same time when the following factors occur simultaneously: the person must first contract the variant. Omicron (BA1 or BA2), while the body has not yet generated an immune response to the virus, the person continues to be exposed to the Delta variant, then co-infection will occur.

However, Professor Krause said that it is very rare for a person to be exposed to two viruses at the same time when they are not immune to both. Specifically, when a person already has antibodies to one variant, they will be able to prevent infection from the other variant.

According to Professor Krause, so far only a small number of cases of co-infection have been recorded, so it is not possible to determine the severity of this phenomenon on a large scale.

Experts say that although co-infection with variants of the SARS-CoV-2 virus is rare, double infection with other respiratory viruses is very common.

Associate Professor Jo Kirman at the University of Otago has been involved in the study of respiratory viruses, including RSV, in infants and children in New Zealand. In a study from a few years ago, she said a large number of children were infected with 2 or 3 respiratory viruses simultaneously.

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