Staff organize COVID-19 test packets at the Sanderford Road Park COVID-19 testing site on Tuesday, January 19, 2021 in Raleigh, NC.

Is it better to get immunity from COVID or vaccines?

  • June 17, 2021

Staff organize COVID-19 test packets at the Sanderford Road Park COVID-19 testing site on Tuesday, January 19, 2021 in Raleigh, NC.

Staff organize COVID-19 test packets at the Sanderford Road Park COVID-19 testing site on Tuesday, January 19, 2021 in Raleigh, NC.

rwillett@newsobserver.com

Research shows both coronavirus infection and vaccination offers immunity that can protect people from getting sick again. But by how much and for how long remains unclear — a scientific gap that only time could fill.

Regardless of how immunity is acquired, there’s no telling whose bodies will or won’t create effective antibodies, and why they last longer for some than others; doctors speculate age or certain medical conditions might play a role.

It also doesn’t help that the testing shortage that plagued the nation at the beginning of the pandemic will forever shield researchers from understanding the true impact of COVID-19.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that between February 2020 and March 2021, there were about 114.6 million total coronavirus infections in the U.S.. That’s about 81.1 million more cases than are confirmed as of June 17.

While people can gain immunity from both infection and vaccination, antibodies created from both routes target different parts of the virus, which leads to variations in the quality of protection.

It’s like a coin flip: risk contracting COVID-19 — and potentially becoming a long-hauler — or getting vaccinated. Some argue the final outcome is similar, but one is far more dangerous than the other.

Here’s what the latest data show about immunity from prior infection and vaccines.

Natural immunity from coronavirus infection

There are certain illnesses in which infection can offer more protection than a vaccine.

For example, coming down with measles or mumps is said to confer lifelong immunity to the virus, but some people who get the vaccine may still get infected, although the shots still limit and prevent the spread of outbreaks.

But if the novel coronavirus is anything like others in the coronavirus family, like the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), then permanent protection after infection is unlikely.

Studies offer some positive clues, however.

Research published in February found that coronavirus patients gained “substantial immune memory” that involved all four major parts of the immune system: memory B cells, antibodies, memory CD4+ T cells and memory CD8+ T cells.

This protection lasted about six months after infection in most people, but for some, it remained for up to eight months, suggesting it could last even longer in some cases.

Separate research posted in April showed a history of COVID-19 among U.K. patients was associated with an 84% lower risk of reinfection for about seven months after testing positive.

Another non-peer reviewed study published in June found that over five months, 1,359 American health care workers who previously had COVID-19 and didn’t get vaccinated stayed clear of reinfection. The Cleveland Clinic researchers said, in the context of a short supply of vaccines globally, “a practical and useful message would be to consider symptomatic COVID-19 to be as good as having received a vaccine,” adding that people who’ve had the coronavirus “are unlikely to benefit from COVID-19 vaccination.”

While scientists cannot predict who will develop natural immunity, evidence shows people who had severe COVID-19 are more likely to develop a stronger immune response than those who had milder forms of the disease.

Immunity from COVID-19 vaccines

It’s also true that research shows COVID-19 vaccines offer protection against reinfection, although “breakthrough cases” can occur because no vaccine is 100% effective.

However, studies have found vaccine-derived antibodies are more robust compared to those from natural infection — and the job is done without causing illness or other long-term complications often brought on by the disease.

Two doctors from Italy compared the process of infection and vaccination in relation to variants to the plot of an action movie.

It “begins with a character (the virus) running freely across the globe, eluding capture until being finally sent to jail (built by natural immunity). However, if this prison is not secure enough, the virus could escape, aided by certain mutations,” Dr. Emanuele Andreano and Dr. Rino Rappuoli of the Monoclonal Antibody Discovery Lab, wrote in Nature. “Vaccine-induced immunity… should help ensure those escape routes are securely closed.”

An April study that has not been peer-reviewed found that two doses of either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines offered 10 times higher levels of antibodies compared to those developed after natural infection.

Another April paper showed that people who were previously infected with the coronavirus experienced significant boosts in their preexisting antibodies after two doses of the Pfizer vaccine, which also offered protection against coronavirus variants.

“Vaccines actually, at least with regard to SARS-CoV-2, can do better than nature… They are better than the traditional response you get from natural infection,” White House chief medical adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci said during a COVID-19 briefing in May.

Exactly why vaccines appear to generate more robust immunity than natural infection remains unclear, but Dr. Sabra Klein, a virologist and professor of immunology at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, said infection and vaccination work in different ways.

“The immune system of people who have been infected has been trained to target all these different parts of the virus called antigens. You’d think that would provide the strongest immunity, but it doesn’t,” Klein said. “The Pfizer or Moderna vaccines target just the spike protein — the part of the virus that is essential for invading cells.

“It’s like a big red button sitting on the surface of the virus. It’s really sticking out there, and it’s what our immune system sees most easily,” she continued. “By focusing on this one big antigen, it’s like you’re making our immune system put blinders on and only be able to see that one piece of the virus.”

In other words, vaccines work to strengthen immune responses gained during natural infection; that’s why health experts advise people who’ve had COVID-19 to still get vaccinated.

“There’s nothing deleterious about getting a boost to an immune response that you’ve had before,” Dr. Marion Pepper, an immunologist at the University of Washington in Seattle, told The New York Times. “You could get an actually even better immune response by boosting whatever immunity you had from the first infection by a vaccine.”

Follow more of our reporting on Full coverage of coronavirus in Washington


See all stories

Related stories from The Olympian

Katie Camero is a McClatchy National Real-Time Science reporter based in Miami. She’s an alumna of Boston University and has reported for the Wall Street Journal, Science, and The Boston Globe.

Previous Covid infection may not offer long-term protection, study finds | Coronavirus

  • June 17, 2021

Previous infection with coronavirus does not necessarily protect against Covid in the longer term, especially when caused by new variants of concern, a study on healthcare workers suggests.

Researchers at Oxford University found marked differences in the immune responses of medical staff who contracted Covid, with some appearing far better equipped than others to combat the disease six months later.

Scientists on the study, conducted with the UK Coronavirus Immunology Consortium, said the findings reinforced the importance of everyone getting vaccinated regardless of whether they had been infected with the virus earlier in the pandemic.

“If you look at the trajectory of the immune response after infection, mostly it is still detectable six months later, but it’s highly variable between people,” said Eleanor Barnes, a professor of hepatology and experimental medicine at Oxford and a senior author on the study.

“That is quite different to vaccination. If you vaccinate you get a really robust response, but with natural infection there’s much more diversity in responses.”

The researchers analysed blood samples from 78 healthcare workers who had Covid, with or without symptoms, between April and June last year. The blood was checked monthly for up to six months post-infection for a range of immune responses. These included different types of antibody that target the virus, B cells that make antibodies and retain a memory of the disease, and T cells, which reduce the severity of disease by killing off infected cells.

Writing in a preprint, which has yet to be peer-reviewed, the authors describe how they used a machine learning system called Simon, for Sequential Iterative Modeling Over Night, to see whether a person’s early immune response and the severity of their infection could predict their longer-term immunity. Dr Adriana Tomic, the first author on the study, said a signature in the antibody and T-cell response at one month predicted how robust the antibody response would be at six months.

The majority of people who produced a weak immune response at one month had no detectable antibodies that could neutralise the Alpha variant, first seen in Kent, at six months. None mounted neutralising antibodies against the Beta variant first spotted in South Africa. The researchers have yet to analyse data for the Delta variant now dominant in the UK.

While most of the healthcare workers who developed symptomatic disease had a measurable immune response six months later, more than a quarter did not. More than 90% of those who had asymptomatic infections had no measurable immune response six months later, the researchers found. The work is part of the protective immunity from T cells to Covid-19 in health workers (Pitch) study, funded by the Department of Health.

“In our view, previous infection does not necessarily protect you long-term from Sars-Cov-2, particularly variants of concern,” said Barnes. “You shouldn’t depend on it to protect you from subsequent disease, you should be vaccinated.”

The wide variability in immunity triggered by natural infection in part reflects the radically different exposures people can have to the virus while going about their lives. Immunity from vaccination is more reliable because people are given a standard dose in a standard way.

Danny Altmann, a professor of immunology at Imperial College London, who was not involved in the study, said the findings cautioned against simple assumptions around how immunity waned with time. “People show rather diverse trajectories after infection, but immunity often seems to hold up well at six months,” he said. “Most of all, studies such as this remind us that policy decisions on ‘boosting’ need to be evidence based in the context of a strong programme of immune monitoring.”

3 COVID shots could boost immunity in solid organ transplant recipients

3 COVID shots could boost immunity in solid organ transplant recipients

  • June 17, 2021

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) – New research from Johns Hopkins University Hospital shows a third dose of the COVID-19 vaccine could be a way to improve immunity in immunocompromised patients, especially for organ transplant recipients.

Health experts said solid organ transplant recipients tend to have weakened immune systems.

“When you have an organ transplant, you get put on very powerful drugs to suppress your immune system because it’s your immune system that can otherwise lead you to reject those organs that you’ve received, and therefore when they’re given a vaccination, the vaccine doesn’t induce immunity. It doesn’t create an immune response,” said State Health Officer for the Alabama Department of Public Health, Dr. Scott Harris.

But a new study from Johns Hopkins University Hospital shows a third dose of the COVID-19 vaccine could improve immunity response in these groups.

“We’ve had these people with immune system problems like organ transplant patients who are allowed to take a vaccine, but whom we really didn’t expect the vaccine to work, and so, it’s encouraging to that perhaps there is a way to induce immunity in these patients,” Dr. Harris said.

The study followed 30 solid organ transplant recipients.

Almost all of them had low or no immunity to the vaccine.

But after a third shot, 33% of patients with no immunity, and 100% of patients with low immunity, increased their antibody levels.

“We also know that because of their medical conditions, in many cases, they’re at even more risk of serious illness if they do get COVID compared with the average person. We want to protect them even more, in a way, than the average person. So, it’s encouraging to think that we may have a way to do that,” Dr. Harris said.

Health experts said this 30-patient study isn’t big enough to be a formal patient trial, but it’s enough preliminary data to show promise in future studies.

They still recommend organ transplant recipients get the vaccine, but still take precautionary measures to ensure protection.

Copyright 2021 WBRC. All rights reserved.

Florida News Times

Third dose of COVID vaccine may boost immunity of transplant recipients-WUSF public media

  • June 16, 2021

Pharmacist Katie McDonough reconfigures the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine when filling syringes at the UMass Memorial Healthcare COVID-19 Vaccination Center at the Mercantir Center in Worcester on April 22, 2021. Joseph Prezioso AFP

A small new study offers a faint hope that organ transplant recipients can be given a third dose of the COVID-19 vaccine to enhance their defense against coronavirus.

It’s important Previous studies show Almost half of organ transplant recipients showed no antibody response after two doses of Pfizer or modelna vaccine.

And even transplant recipients who responded antibody to vaccination were often more modest than those with a healthy immune system. Therefore, doctors advise these patients not to assume that vaccination is equivalent to immunity. According to the Scientific Registry of Transplant Recipients, more than 400,000 people in the United States have undergone organ transplants.

In a new study Published this week Annual report of internal medicineResearchers at Johns Hopkins University of Medicine tracked 30 organ transplant recipients who received a third dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

They found that one-third of patients who did not have previously detectable antibodies showed increased antibody levels after the third dose. And all patients who previously showed low levels of antibody after two doses of vaccine showed high levels of antibody after the third dose.

“For everyone involved [these are] A promising finding that the defensive immunity of immunosuppressed people may ultimately be reached, “said Dr. Dolly Segev, a transplant surgeon and study author at Johns Hopkins Medicine... Although the findings are preliminary, he says, they are consistent with previous studies of how transplant recipients respond to other vaccines.

Researchers say this is the first study to report a response to a third vaccination. In this observational study, they tracked group transplant recipients who asked for a third dose on their own and tested antibody levels after dosing.

Researchers say their findings support the use of clinical trials to determine whether transplant recipients should receive the COVID-19 vaccine booster as part of standard clinical care. If the findings are reproduced in a larger study, they may affect some other types of immunocompromised patients.In fact, in France Health officials already recommend Patients with severe immunodeficiency, such as organ transplant patients and dialysis patients, receive a third dose of Pfizer or modelna vaccine.

Segev says he expects more data from France to come from France regarding the effectiveness of a third dose in immunocompromised patients.

“Obviously, all we need to learn is … who responds to the third dose,” he says. “People who need changes other than the third dose,” such as temporary changes in immunosuppressive drugs to improve the antibody response to vaccination.

Segev and his colleagues are currently seeking regulatory approval to give transplant recipients a third dose of the vaccine and initiate an intervention study that can monitor their response. They hope to be able to register participants next month or two months.

But for now, “the best we can all do for immunosuppressed people is that our normal immune system can protect vulnerable friends and family among us who have suppressed the immune system. So, get all the vaccinations, “he says.

Third dose of COVID vaccine may boost immunity of transplant recipients-WUSF public media

Source link Third dose of COVID vaccine may boost immunity of transplant recipients-WUSF public media

Covid 19: Foods you should eat if you have coronavirus infection

Covid 19: Foods you should eat if you have coronavirus infection

  • June 16, 2021

According to Dr Vishnuraj Prakash, Head of Ayurveda, Vana Retreat, Dehradun. Our immunity fights or helps our physiological system to sustain from any bacterial or viral invasion. What you have to understand is that a balanced immune response is vital to ward off these infections and thus sustains our health.

Majority of viral infections turn serious either due to lack of immune response or else due to hyper immune response. The following practices and food choices help in modulating a balanced immune response and may facilitate a faster recovery from Covid 19 infection.

Simple tips

Hydrate yourselves – Drink at least 3 to 4 litres of water infused with a few leaves of tulsi and thin slices of ginger. Try to avoid sleeping in supine position as it can increase chances of chest congestion. Try to sleep in either a prone or lateral position.

Chew 3 to 5 raisins 3 to 4 times a day which can improve digestion and help in improving or bringing back your taste.

Always prefer to have light and easily digestible meals like a khichdi fortified with cinnamon and turmeric powder which can be assimilated quickly.

Taking a piece of fruit, especially a pomegranate or orange or an apple will be energising. Include asparagus, drumsticks, garlic, beetroot, celery, zucchini, cucumber, radish, mung bean in your diet. Always prefer to have warm and cooked meals.

Avoid cold foods, excessive sweet, spicy, sour, and salty foods during an active infection. Try moderation of all tastes in a meal.

Covid immunity lasts for a year, vaccine boost helps fight variants, study says

Covid immunity lasts for a year, vaccine boost helps fight variants, study says

  • June 16, 2021
Covid-19 vaccine shot | Representational image | Bloomberg


Text Size:

New Delhi: Immunity in Covid-recovered patients is long-lasting and gets a 50-fold boost after vaccination, according to a new study.

The study, published in the journal Nature Monday, also said that the mRNA vaccines can sufficiently protect against emerging mutations.

More than a year after the Covid-19 pandemic broke, the emergence of new variants that appear to be more transmissible and resistant to antibodies has added to the challenge of controlling the spread of the disease.

To understand how long the immunity lasts, researchers from the Rockefeller University, Weill Cornell Medicine and California Institute of Technology assessed the blood samples of 63 people who had recovered from Covid-19. The samples were collected 1.3, 6.2 and 12 months after infection.

Of these 63 people, 41 per cent had received mRNA vaccines.

The study found that in Covid-recovered patients, antibodies against the protein known as receptor binding domain (RBD) of SARS-CoV-2 and neutralising activity remain relatively stable from six to 12 months, without vaccination.

A receptor-binding domain is a key part of the virus located on its ‘spike’ protein that allows it to latch onto the cell to gain entry into cells and lead to infection.

Memory B cells — a type of white blood cells that learn to recognise specific viral proteins — was also found to remain stable upto 12 months.


Also read: New atomic-scale 3D map of Covid virus protein could hold clue to preventing lung damage


Antibody levels

In addition, the team found that vaccination increases all components of the antibody response. Antibody levels remained relatively unchanged between six to 12 months after SARS-CoV-2 infection, and that vaccination further boosted this activity by nearly 50-fold.

The study found that the ability of vaccine-induced antibodies to neutralise variants of concern was comparable to or greater than that against the original virus.

Researchers also identified that the broad response against the SARS-CoV-2 virus involves what is known as the antibody somatic mutation — a cellular mechanism using which the body’s immune system adapts to the changing virus during the course of the infection.

This results in antibodies that are exceptionally resistant to mutations in the SARS-CoV-2 RBD — including those found in variants of concern

In addition, B cells that produce a broad range of potent antibodies are retained in the body over time and expand dramatically after vaccination.

The data suggest that immunity in Covid-recovered individuals will be very long-lasting, researchers said. Along with this, Covid-recovered patients who receive mRNA vaccines produce antibodies and memory B cells that should be protective against circulating SARS-CoV-2 variants, the study concluded.

(Edited by Neha Mahajan)


Also read: AY.1 — The new Covid variant on world radar stems from Delta variant, linked to immune escape


 

Subscribe to our channels on YouTube & Telegram

Why news media is in crisis & How you can fix it

India needs free, fair, non-hyphenated and questioning journalism even more as it faces multiple crises.

But the news media is in a crisis of its own. There have been brutal layoffs and pay-cuts. The best of journalism is shrinking, yielding to crude prime-time spectacle.

ThePrint has the finest young reporters, columnists and editors working for it. Sustaining journalism of this quality needs smart and thinking people like you to pay for it. Whether you live in India or overseas, you can do it here.

Support Our Journalism