For those who are vaccinated and boosted, but contract the COVID-19 omicron variant, the natural protection the infection provides is more potent than getting a second booster shot, two recent studies seem to show.
One study, conducted by BioNTech SE that followed vaccinated individuals who had a breakthrough omicron infection, found that those who had been infected with omicron had a better B-cell response than those who had been boosted but not infected, according to a story from Fortune.com.
B-cells are part of the body’s immune system. They are a type of white blood cells that helps produce antibodies.
The omicron subvariant BA.2.12.1 is spreading quickly in the United States and is responsible for the increase in cases across the country. BA.2.12.1 is 25% more transmissible than the previous BA.2 subvariant. That subvariant was 30% more transmissible than the original omicron.
The second study, conducted by the University of Washington in collaboration with Vir Biotechnology, compared blood samples of vaccinated individuals who contracted the delta or omicron variants against those who were unvaccinated and caught the virus, those who caught the virus and were later vaccinated, and those who caught the virus but were never vaccinated.
Those who had the omicron version of the COVID-19 virus after they were vaccinated produced antibodies that formed a strong defense against other known variants of the virus.
The study also showed that those who were unvaccinated and caught omicron did not produce the same strong response.
“That indicates that we are at the point where we may want to consider having a different vaccine to boost people,” said David Veesler, an assistant professor at the University of Washington, who led the research.
The studies, which were published in the medical research archive bioRxiv, also showed that while the protection was potent, it was not long-lasting. The protection remained at its peak for around 90 days, according to the studies.
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