Certain Variants Could Reduce Vaccine Effectiveness
The ability of certain mutations to evade the immune system isnt just a concern for people whove had COVID-19, but also for the ability of COVID-19 vaccines to protect people who have never contracted an infection.
COVID-19 vaccines protect people by priming the immune system to fight a SARS-CoV-2 infection without actually causing COVID-19.
The side effects experienced by people who have been vaccinated arent symptoms of the disease. Rather, theyre a sign that the immune system is learning to recognize and fight the coronavirus.
Research carried out in the laboratory by Hatziioannou and her colleagues suggest that certain SARS-CoV-2 mutations in the spike protein may allow variants to evade the protection offered by the COVID-19 vaccines.
SARS-CoV-2 uses the spike protein to infect cells in the body by binding to a receptor on the surface of human cells called ACE2.
In Hatziioannous study, researchers collected plasma from 20 people who had received the Moderna-NIAID or Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. They tested this against pseudoviruses containing certain spike protein mutations found in the new SARS-CoV-2 variants.
The antibodies of people who had been vaccinated were less effective against the pseudoviruses that contained these mutations compared to pseudoviruses with the original spike protein configuration.
This study was published on the preprint server bioRxiv. Hatziioannou said the paper has been accepted for publication in the journal Nature.
Doctors Still Recommend Getting Vaccinated
Adalja is recommending the one-dose strategy.
I advise people who have had a prior infection to get vaccinated. Just one dose may be enough in the subgroup to fortify their natural immunity, Adalja said.
Evidence shows that just one dose after a previous infection can boost antibody levels even higher than two doses in people who didnt have a previous infection.
But because of the variability in immunity from person to person, Martinello says the full vaccination course is still recommended.
Those who have had COVID should get vaccinated and should get the full course of the vaccine they choose, Martinello said.
Studies have shown that the vaccines work against the variants. Scientists, however, are still learning about immunity in people who had COVID-19.
Vaccination produces a strong immune response and provides excellent protection against COVID, Martinello said.
Gov Ron Desantis: You Are Immune If Youve Recovered From Covid
ORLANDO, Fla. Gov. Ron DeSantis claimed Wednesday people who had recovered from the coronavirus were immune to getting it again.
He opened his presentation by pointing out some who were not wearing masks.
Did you not get the CDCs memo? I dont see you guys complying, he said laughing.
The governor then made the claim that people who have recovered from COVID-19 could not get it again.
So, here we are now, and the CDC is saying every single person in a school needs to wear a mask all day, even if youre vaccinated, even if youve recovered from COVID, which by the way you are immune if youve recovered from COVID. The CDC doesnt admit that, but its true, he said.
News 6 investigated the science behind the statement.
According to the CDC: Based on what we know from similar viruses, some reinfections are expected. We are still learning more about COVID-19. Ongoing COVID-19 studies will help us understand. Although persons with SARS-CoV-2 antibodies are largely protected, subsequent infection is possible for some persons due to lack of sterilizing immunity. Some re-infected individuals could have a similar capacity to transmit virus as those infected for the first time.
Your previous infection may prevent you from getting sick, but that doesnt necessarily mean that you cant become infected and then spread it to others, Dr. Frank Esper with the Cleveland Clinic said.
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Who Is At Risk Of Covid
By now, we know that anyone can get COVID-19 the vaccinated and unvaccinated, those who have had it already and those who havent. In the same vein, anyone can get COVID-19 again.
Its important to note that were still learning a lot about reinfections and whos at risk for those reinfections, Dr. Esper says. But doctors do know that some people are at higher risk of reinfection for COVID-19 than others.
Why Do I Need The Vaccine If I’ve Already Had Covid
According to a study from Kentucky analyzed in last week’s CDC report, people who previously had COVID-19 were about twice as likely to get it again if they weren’t vaccinated, suggesting that the coronavirus vaccines are very effective even if you’ve already had the virus.
“If you have had COVID-19 before, please still get vaccinated,” CDC director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said on Friday. “Getting the vaccine is the best way to protect yourself and others around you, especially as the more contagious delta variant spreads around the country.”
Weissenbach says that strength of someone’s natural immunity from infection likely won’t last “over the long haul,” and that vaccination might provide better protection. This is because vaccines target a “particular reaction” from your immune system, he says.
“It’s done so in a very targeted and emphasized way so that it generally is going to be a more robust, lasting immune response than may otherwise be provided naturally through your body,” Weissenbach says. Think of it as a “double dose,” he says.
But research shows people who’ve already had COVID-19 strongly benefit from a single dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, which is not the case for people who haven’t been sick. According to an article in Nature, some people who’ve had COVID-19 and received just one vaccine shot mount immune responses equal to or greater than people who got both doses but never had COVID-19.
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First A Quick Recap About Antibodies
When we encounter an infection for the first time, our body needs to respond quickly to the threat. So within hours, it activates our innate immune system. This system is quick-acting but isnt targeted to the specific threat.
The innate immune systems attack distracts the infection while the body produces a more targeted but slower response against the infection, via the adaptive immune system.
The adaptive immune system produces antibodies to fight the infection. These are what we measure in the blood when trying to determine who has been exposed to SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.
The body produces different types of antibodies to respond to different parts of the virus. But only some have the ability to stop the virus entering cells. These are called neutralising antibodies.
According to the World Health Organisation, people who recover from COVID-19 develop antibodies in their blood. But some people appear to have low levels of neutralising antibodies.
Regular blood tests cant tell us everything we need to know about COVID-19 immunity. Shutterstock
To see if an antibody is a neutralising antibody, you need to do special laboratory tests to see the effect of the antibody in cells exposed to the virus.
But even if an antibody blood test could confirm neutralising antibodies, it doesnt automatically mean the person is immune from further infection. Even though the antibody is present, for example, the quantities may be insufficient to work.
How Long Does Covid
Like many other aspects of this disease, scientists are still researching to determine a firm timeframe of how long antibodies are active in those who were infected with SARS-CoV-2. One particular study may provide some insight into a future definitive answer, despite the fact that it has yet to be published in a peer-reviewed journal. Researchers reviewed antibody counts in over 180 confirmed COVID-19 cases, tracking them over time. The findings suggest that antibodies and other immunity signifiers were noted as far as eight months out from first infection, but did discover some variation in the number of antibodies produced between individuals. It’s unclear why some individuals were noted to have higher antibody counts compared to others.
With so much talk about the new COVID-19 variants, you may be wondering if a mutated version of SARS-CoV-2 may render any earned immunity ineffective? While it hasn’t been largely documented, Dr. Michael says it is possible, and that your second case of COVID-19 may be largely different than the first.
“Being infected with a new strain might be something you don’t notice at first because you have enough immunity to essentially fight off almost all the side effects that come from that second infection,” he explains, adding that these infections may go entirely undiagnosed. “Not to say, well, that’s great because you may pass it along to someone who’s very susceptible to any strain.”
Do Other Coronaviruses Provide Cross
Cross-immunity is where immunity against one infection provides protection from another infection.
In one study, researchers tracked newborns up to 20 months of age. They found that infection with human coronavirus OC43 generated neutralising antibodies that may have protected against HKU1. In other words, it led to cross-immunity.
If there is cross-immunity between HCoV-OC43 and HCoV-HKU1, which are both betacoronaviruses, its possible they could generate cross-immunity with the new betacoronavirus, SARS-CoV-2.
But unfortunately, the current tests for COVID-19 cant give us information about cross-immunity.
New Mu Variant Of Covid
In those who had had Covid-19 but were not fully vaccinated, the levels of antibodies against the SARS-CoV-2 were variable and weak in the words of the researchers. Variable and weak is not very comforting, whether you are describing your date, your underwear, or your immune protection. This is not terribly surprising because a SARS-CoV-2 can be like a box of chocolates, except that these chocolates are really awful and should not be eaten. When it comes to a SARS-CoV-2, you never know exactly what you are going to get. The infection can range from being completely without symptoms to mild to more severe to really severe to really, really severe. And these different manifestations may not elicit the same immune responses.
The team checked which of these folks ended having another positive NAAT or antigen test result from May 1 through June 30, 2021. A total of 246 people fulfilled this criteria. They then chose 492 people who had a prior infection in 2020 but didnt have any evidence of a second infection during the same two month period in 2021 to serve as a control group. Data from the Kentucky Immunization Registry helped determine who had been fully vaccinated against Covid-19 in the interim. Fully vaccinated meant having gotten a single dose of the Janssen Covid-19 vaccine or two doses of an mRNA vaccine at least 14 days before they had gotten reinfected with the Covid-19 coronavirus.
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There is also emerging data that just a single dose of the two-dose vaccines could be enough for people with prior infections.
The more people who get vaccinated against the disease, even with one shot, the fewer chances the virus will have to mutate, and potentially evolve a resistance to the established vaccines, Thompson said.
People just believe they mutate on their own but they dont. They need to be in someone, Thompson said.
As a result, Thompson said he finds it difficult to view vaccination as a solely personal decision, since it affects society as a whole.
The NFL has all but mandated that coaches get vaccinated, but Ravens officials have said they would leave the decision up to the players.
Covid: The Group At Higher Risk Of Catching It Twice
COVID-19 reinfection is possible and some are at higher risk.
If you are under the age of 65 and have had COVID-19 then most likely you are protected from catching it twice, at least for six months after the infection.
But those aged 65 years and older are at higher risk of getting the disease again.
According to a new study, the protection against repeat infection among adults 65 years and older is 47 percent while for younger people it is 80 percent.
The study also found that immunity and protection will last at least six months after infection.
Dr Daniela Michlmayr, the studys co-author, said:
In our study, we did not identify anything to indicate that protection against reinfection declines within six months of having COVID-19.
The closely related coronaviruses SARS and MERS have both been shown to confer immune protection against reinfection lasting up to three years, but ongoing analysis of COVID-19 is needed to understand its long-term effects on patients chances of becoming infected again.
The study analysed COVID test data on 4 million people in Denmark from March to December 2020.
It shows that most people who recovered from COVID infection were protected against reinfection, only 0.65 percent returned positive tests, meaning about 1 in 200 people tested positive for COVID twice.
Seniors are more susceptible to coronavirus reinfection as generally aging is a key factor in the severity of the disease.
Dr Steen Ethelberg, study co-author, said:
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Boosters Are The Primary Way The Government Plans To Tackle The Virus Over Winter As Data Shows Vaccine Efficacy Does Wane A Little And You Can Catch Covid Twice
The Government has announced that it will start offering booster Covid-19 vaccinations, with the first appointments expected next week.
All those who are clinically extremely vulnerable and anyone aged 16 to 65 in an at-risk group for Covid-19 will also be eligible for a jab.
These boosters are the primary way the Government plans to tackle the virus over the winter months, as data has shown that efficacy of the vaccine does wane a little over time and that it is also possible to catch Covid-19 twice.
Vaccinated People Are At The Lowest Risk Of Reinfection
Can vaccinated people get COVID-19 again? In short, yes but the likelihood is far lower than for unvaccinated people.
There is a very, very small chance, Dr. Esper says.
Data shows that fewer than 0.005% of fully vaccinated Americans have experienced a breakthrough case resulting in hospitalization or death and people who have already had COVID-19 may be even less likely to be reinfected.
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Are Variants To Blame For Reinfections
Not necessarily. Dr. Esper says the coronavirus doesnt mutate nearly as much as the flu, which changes nearly everything about its appearance from one year to the next. Rather, its COVID-19s infectiousness that makes it so, well, infectious.
This variants infectiousness including its ability to evade immune systems and prevent long-lasting immunity for those people who are infected with it is one of the reasons why its been able to persist and come back, he explains.
Reinfections Occur But Most People Are Protected
A study of more than 20,000 healthcare workers in the United Kingdom found that of the more than 6,600 people who had a previous SARS-CoV-2 infection, only 44 contracted it again less than 1 percent.
In addition, people who had a previous infection were 83 percent less likely to contract an infection again during the 5 months of the study compared to those with no prior infection.
The results were published Jan. 15 on the preprint server medRxiv. The study hasnt been peer reviewed, so the results should be viewed with some caution.
These results, though, are in line with another study carried out by Dr. Stuart C. Sealfon, a professor of neurology, neuroscience, and pharmacological sciences at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, and colleagues.
This group followed more than 3,000 Marine recruits attending basic training in South Carolina, including almost 190 recruits who had a previous SARS-CoV-2 infection.
During the 6 weeks of the study, around 10 percent of those with a prior infection contracted another infection. However, they were 82 percent less likely to contract an infection compared to recruits with no previous infection.
The risk of reinfection is roughly one-fifth the risk of getting a first infection, Sealfon said. So, the previous infection provides considerable protection, but reinfection is far from rare.
The study was published Jan. 29 on medRxiv. Its also awaiting peer review.
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Will The Common Cold Give Me Immunity To Coronavirus
The jury is still out on the field of “cross-reactivity” but there may be some infections that look similar enough to the virus that causes Covid that people may gain some protection.
Laboratory tests show the T cells some people made to fight Sars or common cold coronaviruses can also react against the new coronavirus.
How common this is and how much protection it gives is still unknown.
Can I Get It Twice Herd Immunity Vaccines And Covid
Dr. Bill Moss, Professor and Executive Director of the International Vaccine Access Center at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
As researchers continue to learn more about the novel coronavirus, a critical goal has been understanding how the immune system recovers from COVID-19, and how long any potential immunity might last. Recent anecdotes circulating in news and social media about individuals becoming infected with COVID-19 twice pose new questions for epidemiologists and immunologists as the scientific community works to develop a vaccine for the virus and as some speculate about what it would take to achieve herd immunity. To understand what we know thus far about immunity and COVID-19 â and where researchers are headed â we caught up with Dr. Bill Moss, Professor and Executive Director of the International Vaccine Access Center at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.
What does it mean for someone to be immune from an infectious disease?
Once someone recovers from a novel coronavirus infection, are they then immune from the virus?
Obviously, thatâs not easy to do and it takes time. For one thing, the exposure part is hard to measure. One potential solution is to study healthcare workers because theyâre already at high risk of re-exposure due to their work. However, itâs hard to test and see if theyâve not been infected, and itâs even harder to show they were exposed but not infected.
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