Tuesday, March 21, 2023 | Sha'ban 28, 1444 H
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Will Omicron leave and we have immunity!

We have all followed the arrival of the latest Coronavirus variant (Omicron) and its rapid spread in most countries of the world. Is the reality of this arrival so comprehensive tha, this wave ends up being the last of the pandemic (Covid-19)? Who knows, maybe this won’t be the last wave either! There are not many things I would like to be super confident about but this is one of them! A new variant that avoids antibodies, for instance, can emerge to hit us. Not to mention that by the time any country emerges from this wave, each individual and their body will be in radically different immune zones - some stronger, some weaker, some new and some possibly more stable! So without a doubt, herd immunity is the key to ending such pandemic and its basic building blocks start with every individual in society.

However, neither the immunity caused by the virus nor the immunity we gain from the vaccine against infection seems to last very long. Whatever the experts hope, additional doses or infection may keep our defences against mild cases continuous. You will probably agree with me here that it is not always clear why people respond differently to the same viruses or immunizations. You may notice that some people generate strong reactions and others never do. Thus when new variants emerge, they will again expose cracks that lack protection, in the same way, that individuals with different exposure histories are not expected to achieve the same levels of immune protection. I might say here, some people will be left with sheltered houses of thatch, others of wood and others of bricks, because the virus is not neutral and the fact that it has never been.

Whatever the case, with an increase in the rate of immunization and booster doses, for example, immunity will be raised on average, while we can still expect an increase in infection with whatever future path the virus takes. Perhaps this will be the last wave of the Coronavirus, spreading so quickly and we will get a period of delay....maybe! And even if a new antibody-avoiding variant appears on the scene, there are somehow limitations to how this virus develops, especially since by this point, many immune systems have seen enough to predict what the virus will infect us next.

In the end, future waves of infection will continue to have their own problems. So, tracking them may be more complex, because they are not synchronous and also those epidemics may start and end at different times. Not to mention that as immunity ebbs and flows, our fates will continue to be divided, at the level of individuals and societies alike. Indeed, when the threat is contagious, it is not our immune differences that define us, but the common ground we provide to the virus when we allow it to spread!

Dr Yousuf Ali Al Mulla is a physician, medical innovator and a writer.

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