- Prior exposure to COVID19 doesn’t guarantee high level of antibodies: Study
- The study supports full vaccination even for COVID recovered patients
- Blood samples full vaccination showed a very high level of antibodies
Washington: A new study has shown that two months after the second Pfizer/Moderna vaccination, antibody response decreases 20 per cent in adults with prior cases of COVID-19. The study also tested how well current vaccines resist emerging variants. The findings of the study were published in the journal ‘Scientific Reports’. The Northwestern University study underscored the importance of receiving a second dose of vaccine, not only because it is commonly known that immunity from vaccines wanes over time, but also because of the risk posed by emerging variants, including the highly contagious delta variant.
The study also showed that prior exposure to SARS-CoV-2 does not guarantee a high level of antibodies, nor does it guarantee a robust antibody response to the first vaccine dose. This directly contradicts the assumption that contracting COVID will naturally make someone immune to re-infection. The findings further support vaccination (and two doses), even for people who have contracted the virus previously.
A team of scientists, including biological anthropologist Thomas McDade and pharmacologist Alexis Demonbreun, tested blood samples from adults who had tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 to measure how long the immunity benefits of Pfizer and Moderna vaccines last and how well they protect from newer variants. Study participants were selected from a racially and ethnically diverse community-based sample of Chicago-area adults recruited at the start of the pandemic.
Using at-home antibody testing kits developed in the lab, participants submitted blood samples two to three weeks after their first and second dose of vaccination and two months after the second dose. In the lab, the researchers tested for neutralising antibodies by measuring whether the blood sample could inhibit the interaction between the virus’ spike protein and the ACE2 receptor — this interaction is how the virus causes an infection once it enters the body.
“When we tested blood samples from participants collected about three weeks after their second vaccine dose, the average level of inhibition was 98 per cent, indicating a very high level of neutralising antibodies,” said McDade, professor of anthropology in the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences and a faculty fellow with the University’s Institute for Policy Research.
The scientists tested emerging variants B.1.1351 (South Africa), B.1.1.7 (UK) and P.1 (Brazil) and found the level of inhibition to viral variants was significantly lower, ranging from 67 per cent to 92 per cent. In testing samples collected two months after the second dose, they found antibody responses declined by about 20 per cent.
The researchers found that the antibody response to vaccination varied based on the history of prior infection. Individuals with clinically confirmed cases of COVID-19 and multiple symptoms had a higher level of response than those who tested positive but had mild symptoms or were asymptomatic.
Many people, and many doctors, are assuming that any prior exposure to SARS-CoV-2 will confer immunity to re-infection. Based on this logic, some people with prior exposure don’t think they need to get vaccinated, McDade said.
“Or if they do get vaccinated, they think that they only need the first dose of the two-dose Pfizer/Moderna vaccines,” McDade added.
Our study shows that prior exposure to SARS-CoV-2 does not guarantee a high level of antibodies, nor does it guarantee a robust antibody response to the first vaccine dose, McDade continued.
“For people who had mild or asymptomatic infections, their antibody response to vaccination is essentially the same as it is for people who have not been previously exposed,” McDade explained.
McDade added that although the research was conducted prior to the emergence of the delta virus, the conclusions are similar.
“As far as protection goes after vaccination, the story is the same for all the variants, including delta — the vaccine provides good protection, but not as good protection as the original version of the virus for which the vaccine was designed,” McDade said.
“Combine that with the fact that immunity wanes over time, you get increased vulnerability to breakthrough infection. So, it’s two strikes right now — delta plus waning immunity among the first wave of the vaccinated,” McDade concluded.
(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)
NDTV – Dettol Banega Swasth India campaign is an extension of the five-year-old Banega Swachh India initiative helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. It aims to spread awareness about critical health issues facing the country. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign highlights the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children to prevent maternal and child mortality, fight malnutrition, stunting, wasting, anaemia and disease prevention through vaccines. Importance of programmes like Public Distribution System (PDS), Mid-day Meal Scheme, POSHAN Abhiyan and the role of Aganwadis and ASHA workers are also covered. Only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and become a Swasth or healthy India. The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollution, waste management, plastic ban, manual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene.