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COVID 'super immunity'

Updated: Dec 15, 2021

The 'super-immunity' elicited by people who have previously recovered from COVID-19 and were later vaccinated compared to those who have never been infected but completed the vaccination regime is one of the more puzzling mysteries of the COVID-19 pandemic. It gets even more complicated as a recent finding forecasts a 50% higher risk of reinfection with COVID after approximately 17 months following the first natural infection for unvaccinated individuals

Antibodies from individuals infected with COVID-19 months before receiving the vaccine could defang the varieties of the mutant spike protein, which displays much more resistance to immune attack than any of the naturally occurring variants. These super-antibodies have blocked other types of coronaviruses in the past, raising the possibility of effectiveness against future variants of coronaviruses.

Although it’s not clearly understood whether these incidents were only due to high levels of neutralizing antibodies or to other properties, such ‘super-immunity’ is predicted to be partly due to immune players called memory B cells. Primarily, the antibodies made after infection or vaccination come from short-lived cells called plasmablasts, which die off quickly, causing the antibody level to drop and activating another source of antibodies from much rarer memory B cells, triggered by either infection or vaccination.

Read on about the research into 'super-immunity' and 'super-antibodies' here.

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