A new study has shown that prior COVID19 infection generates a more robust secondary immune response as compared to COVID19 shots. The authors of the study have said that memory B cells that are essential parts of the body’s immune system continue to grow and turn stronger for at least many months after a COVID19 infection. Experts have said that memory B cells generate highly effective antibodies that can eliminate new variants of the SARS-CoV-2 virus as well. The study has found that memory B cells that are induced by vaccines are less strong and grow for only a couple of weeks after vaccination. Memory B cells that are produced by vaccines are less effective against new variants of the virus.
However, the authors of the study have said that the COVID19 shots produce more neutralizing antibodies as compared to the number of antibodies produced by the immune system after the SARS-CoV-2 virus infection. However, the response of the immune system to infection seems to overtake its response to the vaccine in the context of memory B cells. Experts have said that if this impact is repeated among children who are at a lower risk of severe complications due to COVID19, it shoots up the possibility that they can be more protected through natural immunity after infection as compared to COVID19 shots.
Health experts who have been involved in the study have said that irrespective of whether antibodies are produced by vaccines or prior infection, the levels of antibodies tend to wane away within six months of vaccination in many people. In this case, as well, memory B cells continue to be ready to generate new antibodies whenever a virus tries to attack the body. Before this study, scientists have been unaware of the nature and levels of vaccine-induced memory B cells and disease-induced memory B cells. However, the authors of the new study have warned that the benefits of having stronger memory B cells after a COVID19 infection do not prevail over the risks that are linked to COVID19 infection. The lead author of the study. Dr. Michel Nussenweig from the Rockefeller University has said that though a prior COVID19 disease might trigger the maturation of antibodies with broader action as compared to a shot, a COVID19 infection can take people’s lives as well.
Therefore, taking vaccines is quite vital. People should not only rely on natural protection from a prior infection to be protected from the virus. He has said that COVID19 shots protect people from death due to the disease and prevent them from severe complications of COVID19. This study has come after a separate study has shown that the delta variant of the virus does not seem to lead to severe disease in kids as compared to earlier variants of the virus. Nevertheless, experts have not been able to find any information on differences among the groups that might have affected the findings such as if lockdowns have been in place and the impacts of various seasons.
Health experts have said that the findings have shown that clinical traits of COVID19 due to the delta variant in children have been similar to COVID19 infection caused by other strains of the virus. It also supports the data that has been released by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Rochelle Walensky has said that although more children are falling sick due to COVID19, these studies have shown that there is no elevated risk of severe disease among children during the COVID19 wave in the US that has been driven by the delta strain. She has said that more children are getting affected by COVID19 as the disease has spread in communities more extensively.
In the latest wave of COVID19, kids have been infected with the SARS-CoV-2 virus more often as compared to adults in the US. However, cases of COVID19 have shot up in all age groups in the country, said the experts. Health officials have said that the increase in cases has taken place due to relaxed restrictions and ineligibility to get shots for kids who are below 12 years. Dr. Donna Tyungu ha said that in the last eight weeks, there has been a drastic increase in cases of COVID19 and hospitalization among kids. She has claimed that the surge has started right after schools have resumed in-person learning.