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Backing for booster vaccines

Wednesday August 11th 2021

An autumn booster vaccination against COVID-19 will make a significant difference in providing protection against viral variants, according to a major British research project.

Nottingham University researchers have found that people who had a double vaccination after suffering infection earlier have developed especially strong protection against the virus.

The findings of their research were reported in Science Translational Medicine last night. They come from a study of healthcare workers in Nottingham over the last two years.

According to the laboratory studies, this powerful antibody response is more effective than that seen in other vaccinated people against some variants of concern – especially the beta and gamma variants.

Researcher Professor Jonathan Ball said: “We showed that the individuals with past infection produced more antibodies following each dose of vaccine than those who hadn’t been exposed. We also showed that this increased antibody response was more effective against some of the variants of concern, such as the Beta and Gamma variants.

“In essence, natural infection has mimicked the effects of an additional vaccine dose, and our data clearly shows that this additional antigenic exposure produces an extra boost to the overall virus-killing antibody response that is more effective against variants of concern. Our results support the UK Government’s plan to provide a booster jab in the autumn as an effective strategy in protecting people against these variants.”

Fellow researcher Professor Ana Valdes said: “Our data shows that immunity generated from SARS-CoV-2 infection likely results in lower levels of protection to variants of concern, but vaccination greatly increases levels of variant neutralising antibodies. Similarly, individuals who have not had SARS-CoV-2 infection should complete their course of prime and booster vaccination doses. Our data also suggest that excellent protection is afforded in this way to major variants of concern."

* The UK yesterday reported that 75% of the adult population – nearly 40 million people - has now had two doses of vaccination. Another seven million people have received one dose.

Public Health England said its latest data shows that the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine is 92% effective in preventing hospitalisation after two doses. The Pfizer mRNA vaccine is 96% effective.

Two doses of the SARS-CoV-2 BNT162b2 vaccine enhances antibody responses to variants in individuals with prior SARS-CoV-2 infection. Science Translational Medicine 10 August 2021

[abstract]

Tags: Flu & Viruses | UK News

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