Due to B Cells, Covid-19 Infection Creates Longer-Lasting Immunity than Does Just Vaccination

(p. D4) . . . among the vaccinated and boosted, getting infected with the Omicron variant also appears to be contributing to a psychological shift, as people realize they have probably gained at least a short-term natural boost to their immune system. Scientists call it “hybrid immunity,” which results from the combined protection of pre-existing vaccine antibodies and natural antibodies from a breakthrough infection.

. . .

A recent study showed that vaccinated health care workers with breakthrough infections had significantly higher levels of antibodies compared to a vaccinated control group that had not had natural infections. Fikadu Tafesse, an immunologist at Oregon Health & Science University who helped conduct the research, said that although the study was done before the Omicron wave, the findings suggest a drastically elevated level of protection after a breakthrough infection.

“Super immunity is maybe an overreach, but we know the most recent studies show there’s hybrid immunity, really due to immune players known as memory B cells,” said Anita Gupta, an adjunct assistant professor of anesthesiology and critical care medicine at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. “When some of the short-lived immune cells go away, these memory B cells are going to last a while.”

For the full story, see:

Dani Blum. “Your New ‘Hybrid Immunity’ Isn’t a Superpower.” The New York Times (Thursday, January 27, 2022): D4.

(Note: ellipses added.)

(Note: the online version of the story was updated Jan. 21, 2022, and has the title “I Had Breakthrough Covid. Can I Start Living Like It’s 2019?”)

The “recent study” mentioned above is:

Bates, Timothy A., Savannah K. McBride, Bradie Winders, Devin Schoen, Lydie Trautmann, Marcel E. Curlin, and Fikadu G. Tafesse. “Antibody Response and Variant Cross-Neutralization after Sars-Cov-2 Breakthrough Infection.” JAMA 327, no. 2 (Jan. 11, 2022): 179-81.

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