By Tamsin Brown • 18 December 2021 • 10:36
A study has found that serious COVID cases could be coming to an end, due to a “super immunity” generated in vaccinated people.
Infections in people who have been vaccinated against COVID-19 greatly increase the body’s immune response to different variants of the virus, generating a “super immunity”, according to a study done at the Oregon Health and Science University in the United States.
These results, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), reveal that breakthrough infections in individuals who have been vaccinated generate a “robust immune response” against the delta variant. The authors of the study state that this immune response “is probably very effective against other variants as the virus continues to mutate”.
“These vaccines are very effective against severe disease. Our study suggests that individuals who are vaccinated and then exposed to a breakthrough infection have super immunity,” says doctor Fikadu Tafesse.
The study discovered that the antibodies measured in the blood samples from breakthrough cases were more abundant and much more efficient (up to 1,000% more) than the antibodies generated two weeks after the second dose of the Pfizer vaccine.
The study suggests that each exposure posterior to vaccination actually serves to reinforce the immune response, even to new variants of the virus.
“I think this speaks to an eventual end game. It doesn’t mean we’re at the end of the pandemic, but it points to where we’re likely to land: Once you’re vaccinated and then exposed to the virus, you’re probably going to be reasonably well-protected from future variants,” says Marcel Curlin, co-author of the study.
“Our study implies that the long-term outcome is going to be a tapering-off of the severity of the worldwide epidemic.”
The immunity provided by the vaccine is currently being put to the test in the real world against the new omicron variant.
“We have not examined the omicron variant specifically, but based on the results of this study we would anticipate that breakthrough infections from the omicron variant will generate a similarly strong immune response among vaccinated people,” Tafesse said.
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Originally from London, Tamsin is based in Malaga and is a local reporter for the Euro Weekly News covering Spanish and international news.
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