Studies show that Omicron infection in vaccinated people “turbo-charges” immunity

Contracting the Omicron variant (of Covid-19) while fully vaccinated could boost your immunity as it can fight off a variety of coronavirus variants, according to new research. The findings were revealed in 2 US studies from the University of Washington and vaccine producer BioNTech.

If supported by real-world data, it could be a sign that millions of vaccinated people who have contracted the Omicron variant are not at risk of becoming seriously ill from another variant of Covid-19 soon.

The studies looked at blood samples from people who had had Covid and then received 2 or 3 doses of the vaccine. They also looked at blood taken from people who contracted the Delta and Omicron variants after receiving 2 or 3 doses of the vaccine. Other participants were vaccinated and boosted but had never had Covid and the last category had contracted the virus and had never been vaccinated.

The results show that the antibodies detected in vaccinated people who contracted Omicron outperformed those found in the other categories. Antibodies can even recognize and attack the Delta variant, which is significantly different from Omicron.

The studies also looked at B cells, which produce fresh antibodies in the presence of pathogens, and found that vaccinated people who had taken Omicron had a better B cell response than people who had received a booster dose but had never been infected. The response was lacking in unvaccinated people who had had Omicron, says David Veesler of the University of Washington.

“It would be a problem if a new, significantly different variant emerged.”

Discussions are ongoing about the possibility of updating vaccines to target Omicron. According to the BioNTech team, it might be better to offer people a booster specifically aimed at fighting Omicron, instead of continuing with the original vaccines.

THE SOURCE: Bloomberg

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