Antibodies induced by the lab-created COVID-19 vaccines may be better at attacking the virus and its variants than having natural immunity, according to a new study.
The study’s results, which were published in the journal Scientific Reports, indicate researchers from the National Cancer Institute “used a series of in vitro assays to determine the number of antibodies produced by the vaccine and natural immunity, and whether this correlates to how much of the virus is neutralized,” and:
Forty one serum samples were taken from 33 donors, all with a documented history of COVID-19 infection, and compared to a sample of 28 donors who had all received two doses of either Pfizer or Moderna. Those who were vaccinated had a 16.8-fold increase in neutralizing antibodies when compared to the natural immunity group, and a 30.1-fold increase over another group who were newly-diagnosed COVID-19 patients.
In a follow-up experiment, the researchers discovered this increase in antibodies translated to a similar improvement in virus neutralization, suggesting vaccinated people have more antibodies and are therefore more effective at neutralizing COVID-19. When faced with a different variant, the vaccinated samples’ antibodies were far more effective at neutralizing it compared to natural immunity-induced antibodies.
The small study came with some caveats, including one that said researchers “cannot confirm that vaccines are more effective outside of laboratory conditions.”
Meanwhile, scientists are warning that the next SARS-CoV-2 variant could well be more dangerous than the latest Omicron strain.
Professor Mark Woolhouse of Edinburgh University said it is unknown where the next variant will come from but noted that Omicron did not emerge from the previous variant, Delta.
Omicron “came from a completely different part of the virus’s family tree. And since we don’t know where in the virus’s family tree a new variant is going to come from, we cannot know how pathogenic it might be. It could be less pathogenic but it could, just as easily, be more pathogenic,” he told The Guardian.
The scientist’s opinion was supported by Professor Lawrence Young of Warwick University.
“People seem to think there has been a linear evolution of the virus from Alpha to Beta to Delta to Omicron,” he told The Observer. “But that is simply not the case. The idea that virus variants will continue to get milder is wrong. A new one could turn out to be even more pathogenic than the Delta variant, for example.”
The scientists’ takes come after Dr. Anthony Fauci, who has been front and center since the virus arrived in America in January 2020, says the day we can all ditch the face masks could come “soon.”
“As we get out of the full-blown pandemic phase of COVID-19, which we are certainly heading out of, these decisions will increasingly be made on a local level rather than centrally decided or mandated. There will also be more people making their own decisions on how they want to deal with the virus,” Fauci said in an interview with the Financial Times.
“I hope we are looking at a time when we have enough people vaccinated and enough people with protection from previous infection that the Covid restrictions will soon be a thing of the past,” he said.
Joseph Curl has covered politics for 35 years, including 12 years as White House correspondent, and ran the Drudge Report from 2010 to 2015. Send tips to firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @josephcurl.
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