A recent study conducted by the scientists at the University of Washington and Vir Biotechnology Inc. has revealed that COVID-19 infection can produce better immune responses than a booster shot in vaccinated people. The findings of the study were published in preprint server bioRxiv recently.
However, Alexandra Walls, a principal scientist at the University of Washington who authored one of the studies, warned that people shouldn’t seek out infections in response to the findings.
Meanwhile, BioNTech’s team argued that the data indicate that offering people an omicron-adapted booster shot may be more beneficial than multiple ones with the original vaccines.
While conducting the study the scientists analysed blood samples from people who had been infected, then had two or three doses of the vaccine, as well as those who had caught the delta and omicron variants after two or three doses; others still had been vaccinated and boosted but never caught Covid. Moreover, a final group had only been infected with omicron and never vaccinated.
“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.
Additionally, the scientists were also able to identify antibodies in the nasal mucous of these patients, which could help them neutralise the virus as soon as it enters the body.
Moreover, the Washington and BioNTech studies also looked at the B cells, a type of white blood cell that can kick in to produce a burst of fresh antibodies if they recognize a pathogen. The scientists at BioNTech found that people who had had an omicron breakthrough infection had a broader response from these useful cells than those who had a booster shot but no infection.
Reportedly, other researchers who reviewed the studies said the findings match up with the growing body of evidence for an immune boost from exposure to different virus variants via vaccination and infection. Meanwhile, scientists have also shown broad immune responses in people who caught delta after getting their shots.