An ecological study on reinfection rates using a large dataset of RT-qPCR tests for SARS-CoV-2 in Santiago of Chile

Acuna-Castillo, Claudio; Barrera-Avalos, Carlos; Bachelet, Vivienne C.; Milla, Luis A.; Inostroza-Molina, Ailen; Vidal, Mabel; Luraschi, Roberto; Vallejos-Vidal, Eva; Mella-Torres, Andrea; Valdes, Daniel; Reyes-Lopez, Felipe E. E.; Imarai, Monica; Rojas, Patricio; Sandino, Ana Maria


IntroductionAs the SARS-CoV-2 continues to evolve, new variants pose a significant threat by potentially overriding the immunity conferred by vaccination and natural infection. This scenario can lead to an upswing in reinfections, amplified baseline epidemic activity, and localized outbreaks. In various global regions, estimates of breakthrough cases associated with the currently circulating viral variants, such as Omicron, have been reported. Nonetheless, specific data on the reinfection rate in Chile still needs to be included. MethodsOur study has focused on estimating COVID-19 reinfections per wave based on a sample of 578,670 RT-qPCR tests conducted at the University of Santiago of Chile (USACH) from April 2020 to July 2022, encompassing 345,997 individuals. ResultsThe analysis reveals that the highest rate of reinfections transpired during the fourth and fifth COVID-19 waves, primarily driven by the Omicron variant. These findings hold despite 80% of the Chilean population receiving complete vaccination under the primary scheme and 60% receiving at least one booster dose. On average, the interval between initial infection and reinfection was found to be 372 days. Interestingly, reinfection incidence was higher in women aged between 30 and 55. Additionally, the viral load during the second infection episode was lower, likely attributed to Chile's high vaccination rate. DiscussionThis study demonstrates that the Omicron variant is behind Chile's highest number of reinfection cases, underscoring its potential for immune evasion. This vital epidemiological information contributes to developing and implementing effective public health policies.

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Título según WOS: ID WOS:001031890200001 Not found in local WOS DB
Volumen: 11
Fecha de publicación: 2023


Notas: ISI