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Vaccination and natural infection offer the best protection against new strains of COVID-19, study finds

Experts say the combination improves the quality of consumers’ antibodies

12/09/2021

COVID-19 virus collapses
Photo (c) Jordan Siemens – Getty Images

A new study by researchers at UCLA has explored the best ways for consumers to protect themselves against new strains of COVID-19. According to their results, a combination of a previous COVID-19 infection and a COVID-19 vaccine was associated with the greatest protection against the virus.

“The main message of our research is that a person who has had COVID and then gets vaccinated not only develops an increase in the amount of antibodies, but also an improvement in the quality of the antibodies – improving the ability of the antibodies to work against them. the variants, ”said researcher Dr Otto Yang. “This suggests that having repeated exposures to the spike protein allows the immune system to continue to enhance antibodies if someone has been vaccinated against COVID.”

Antibody strength assessment

The researchers compared the antibody levels of 25 participants involved in the study: 15 people who were recently vaccinated – with no history of COVID-19 infection – and 10 people who had not been vaccinated but had already been vaccinated. tested positive for COVID-19. The unvaccinated participants were vaccinated after a few months, and then the researchers compared their antibody levels again.

Ultimately, receiving the COVID-19 vaccine helped all of the participants to produce antibodies that protect against the SARS-CoV-2 virus. However, this protection was amplified for those who had previously been infected with the virus. The antibodies produced by these participants were stronger against every strain of COVID-19 that the researchers tested.

It is important to note that this study was carried out before the emergence of different viral variants and the eligibility of consumers for booster injections. For this reason, researchers believe more work is needed to understand how protection against the virus will play out for consumers who have not been infected with COVID-19 but have received recalls.

“Overall, our results raise the possibility that the resistance of the SARS-CoV-2 variants to antibodies may be overcome by causing additional maturation through continuous antigen exposure by vaccination, even if the vaccine does not deliver sequences. variants, ”the researchers wrote.

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