NELLORE: Noted nephrologist Dr. A.K. Chakravarthi on Friday advised people to view the Omicron variant of Coronavirus as a natural vaccine.
"People who contract Omicron should be happy, as they are exposed to all antigens to counter Covid-19, rather than vaccinated people who are exposed to just a few antigens. Further, people who do not get immunised by natural infection may need to get vaccinated on a regular basis," Dr. Chakravarthi pointed out.
The nephrologist is the first person in Andhra Pradesh, who donated plasma to Covid patients after he conquered Covid infection last year. He maintained it is high time that people came out of their Covid phobia.
"Let me explain this to you in a scientific way. If we medicos go back to our immunology classes, we can recall that there is a three-layer defence within our body – Physical (through the skin, mucosa), Non-specific (neutrophils, macrophage, NK cells) and T&B cells, antibodies). Any new antigen entering our body has to go through these three defences in that order. All of us are exposed to a variety of antigens in the thymus gland when we are in our mother's womb, where we develop innate immunity. That means we are already immune to many diseases when we are born.
Now, let us come to the statement why we should not be worried about Covid anymore. In the last two waves, two things happened. People either got a natural infection or got vaccinated. That means most of the surviving population has been exposed to Coronavirus antigen. Clearly, people who have got naturally infected have been exposed to more antigens than people who have vaccinated themselves.
Because of acquiring such immunity, the number of hospitalisations or deaths is much lesser during the third wave than the first two waves," Dr. Chakravarthi emphasised.
The noted nephrologist underlined that the Covid-19 virus will keep mutating. But now, human bodies are better prepared to combat this virus. "We can thus consider Omicron as a natural vaccine because of its peculiar characteristics, high infectivity and lower effect on lungs. It is more like a common cold now lasting for 3–5 days," stated Dr. Chakravarthi, who is a consultant nephrologist with Apollo Hospitals in Nellore.
He predicted that in the next few years, Coronavirus will become endemic like any other virus, as people will develop immunity secondary to natural infection or vaccination. "It is high time people look forward to pre-pandemic times and plan for their happy future," he added.