- The best antibody protection came from a series of two doses of one of the mRNA vaccines, Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna, followed by a boost of mRNA.
- A COVID-19 booster created “substantially higher” antibodies than vaccination followed by omicron infection, according to the Cell study published this week.
- According to the study, recipients of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, even with an mRNA booster, did not get the “extent of response” from people who received three doses of mRNA.
New evidence underscores the importance of boosters against omicron, with an mRNA vaccine booster offering the best protection against the rapidly spreading variant.
People who received either the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna two-dose COVID-19 vaccine series and then a booster got a “potent” neutralization against omicron, according to an article published Thursday in the journal Cell.
The initial two-dose vaccine regimen does not produce antibodies capable of fully recognizing and neutralizing the omicron variant, researchers at the Ragon Institute at Massachusetts General Hospital, MIT and Harvard have found.
They noted that although omicron is more successful in overcoming the immunity created by the vaccine, people with breakthrough cases have milder illness, which could be because their initial vaccination helped build immunity. long-term, the researchers postulated.
“Even though antibodies can’t stop us from getting infected with omicron, other aspects of the immune response can keep us from getting very sick,” said Alejandro Balazs, who studies how to develop immunity against them. infectious diseases at the Ragon Institute and is the lead author of the article.
CORONAVIRUS CASES IN THE UNITED STATES RISE TO PREVIOUS RECORDS:How omicron is shaping the pandemic
The Food and Drug Administration’s goal for all COVID-19 vaccines is to protect against serious illness, hospitalization, and death. The three COVID-19 vaccines currently in use in the United States – Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson – are remarkably successful in achieving this goal.
However, emerging data shows that vaccine efficacy declines over time and that as new mutated variants appear, vaccines may be less effective.
To study this, the researchers created a harmless version of omicron known as a “pseudovirus” that they could use in the lab to test the effectiveness of vaccines.
They then collected blood samples from 239 vaccinated people and used them to measure how well different vaccine combinations produced neutralizing antibodies against the original omicron, delta, and COVID-19.
The best antibody protection came from a series of two doses of one of the mRNA vaccines, Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna, followed by a boost of mRNA.
Merely receiving two doses of a non-booster mRNA vaccine was “suboptimal for inducing neutralizing responses to the omicron variant,” the document said.
They found that being infected with omicron after being vaccinated instead of being boosted was not as effective. The booster created “substantially higher” antibodies than vaccination followed by infection.
AND U.S ? J&J vaccine recipients ‘question our protection’ against COVID – and await third shot
A South African study published on December 29 found that vaccinees Johnson & Johnson who received a J&J booster six to nine months after their initial vaccination saw the vaccine’s effectiveness against hospitalization drop from 63% to 84%.
The Cell study found that for participants who received one dose of J&J vaccine, being stimulated by an mRNA vaccine produced “considerably higher” protection than those who received only one dose. of J&J vaccine.
Even so, those J&J and mRNA booster participants still did not get the “extent of response” from people who received three doses of the mRNA vaccine, according to the Cell study.
“Our results suggest that these recipients of Ad26.COV2.S (the J&J vaccine) may benefit from additional doses of mRNA vaccine with the potential to further increase titers and broaden their neutralizing activity,” they wrote. .
The mechanism behind the results is still being worked out, the researchers said. Boosters can dramatically improve immune protection against omicron because they make the antibodies more effective by helping them bind more tightly to the spike protein on the cell surface.
Or they can generate antibodies that target regions of the spike protein common to all forms of COVID-19. Or both can be true, said the lead author of the article, Dr. Wilfredo F. Garcia-Beltran, clinical researcher at the Ragon Institute.
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