Breakthrough Infections and the Delta Variant: What to Know
In some rare cases, pierced infections can cause persistent symptoms.
“Long Covid” is a poorly understood set of symptoms that can plague people for several months after an active infection has ended. Although these symptoms eventually go away in many patients, “there is this subset of people who have a long Covid who just aren’t able to recover at all,” said Akiko Iwasaki, immunologist at the Yale University.
Only a few small studies have looked at how common or severe Covid can be after breakthrough infections. This is likely to be rare, Dr Iwasaki said, because breakthrough infections are rare to begin with and of shorter duration.
In a study conducted in Israel, about seven of 36 people with chronic infections had symptoms that persisted for more than six weeks. And in a survey of Covid-19 survivors, 24 of 44 people with symptomatic breakthrough infection reported persistent problems.
“We really need a national or even a larger international investigation,” said Dr Iwasaki.
Breakthrough infections can offer an unexpected benefit.
If you go through a breakthrough infection relatively unscathed, you’ll likely come away with more robust protection against the variants. According to the researchers, the infection essentially acts as a booster, boosting your immune system’s ability to recognize and fight the virus.
Studies have shown that when people recovering from Covid-19 receive even one dose of a vaccine, their antibody levels skyrocket. “I would expect similar things to happen when you have a breakthrough infection,” Dr Iwasaki said.
Vaccines train the immune system to recognize part of the original virus, a strategy that can make us vulnerable to future variants. But each exhibit expands the immunity repertoire, Dr Mina said.
Eventually, through booster shots or repeated infections, our bodies will gain enough virus education to counter versions with new mutations, he said, adding, “But we’re not there yet. . “
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