The data suggests that the combination of vaccination and immunity from natural infection produces strong protection.
Most of the data we have is from a time when Delta was dominant, but emerging evidence suggests the same may be true for O’Microon.
Exposure to omicrons and other variants can lead to variations in the immune response to either form of the virus.
As people find boosters and breakthroughs, immunity has become a complicated buzzword in our coronavirus terminology.
The “decisive” infections took a small segment of the vaccinated population by surprise and showed us all that our protection does not necessarily vary, although vaccines still work well to prevent serious consequences.
However, emerging evidence suggests that there may be a glimmer of hope for people who get post-vaccination COVID: people who have been fully vaccinated. And Having immunity from a prior COVID-19 infection appears to be very well protected against future infection.
The researchers behind a recent study from Oregon Health & Science University conducted during the delta wave describe this double-duty protection as “superimmunity”—a finding reinforced by recent CDC data that allows people to receive both a vaccine and a prior infection. suggests, there was at least a possibility of contracting COVID-19 with Delta.
While data on Omicron is still trickling in, early research (not yet peer-reviewed) from Austria suggests the same may be true for people who have gotten COVID in recent weeks.
But a new type of immunity does not mean the end of COVID-19. It represents another fracture in this patchwork epidemic, with some people being safer than others. Another version could come out at any time. For public health experts, the concern remains that a COVID-19 infection is unpredictable.
“You’d be crazy to try to get infected with it,” Dr. Robert Murphy of Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine told CNN. “It’s like playing with dynamite.”
Vaccination provides a basis for ‘superimmunity’ if you are later infected
Superimmunity doesn’t work without the foundation of vaccination—a natural infection alone isn’t going to confer anything beyond normal immunity, potentially high medical bills, and the risk of serious illness and prolonged COVID.
Vaccinated people who experienced successful infection during the delta wave produced antibodies 1,000% more effective than those produced after the second Pfizer shot.
“Not only are antibody levels elevated, but the ability to cross-react to the different types is remarkably high,” Fikadu Tafase, co-author of the Oregon study, told Insider.
By exposing your immune system to multiple forms of the same virus, you are essentially showing your body how many forms the coronavirus can take.
“The vaccines were designed with the original strain, but when you have a breakthrough, it can be a delta or now a omicron,” said Tafes, an assistant professor of microbiology and immunology. “It gives you an extra level of complexity in terms of your antibody diversity.”
What does a natural infection do to the immune system
When you were suffering from fatigue and body aches, your T cells and B cells were hard at work. These immune warriors are responsible for attacking infected cells and making more antibodies, respectively. The overall result is a better trained defense plan the next time your body encounters the virus.
“The whole virus infection trains your immunity in a more complete way than the immunity you get from the vaccine, which is mostly spike proteins,” Tafesse told Insider.
Vaccines use spike proteins – the virus’s weapon for infiltrating our cells – as a shortcut to immunity. But with Omicron, we’ve learned that a specific immune response to a protein won’t always prevent people from getting COVID-19.
Tracking omicron-induced immunity will take time
Researchers have yet to collect data to understand how superimmunity works against Omicron, but Tafes was optimistic.
,We think that individuals who succeed will have an even higher level of protection than Omicron,” he said, but he laughed at the prospect of trying to predict what would happen next. “I mean, let’s say that Now it’s superimmunity, so what’s the next one – super-duper immunity?”
In a recent panel put up by the World Economic Forum, Dr. Anthony Fauci said the question of whether Omicron will end the pandemic – or perhaps end it at a slower one – is difficult to answer given that the virus has the ability to mutate.
“I expect that to be the case,” Tafesse said after Omicron asked whether COVID-19 would become endemic. “But that will only happen if we don’t find another variant that overcomes the immune response of the earlier version.”
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