Omicron infection produced better immune responses than a booster shot in vaccinated patients: Study

According to 2 US studies from the University of Washington and from vaccine producer BioNTech, people who get vaccinated and later become infected with omicron can overcome a wide range of corona virus variants. The result of the studies has been noted in the preprint server bioRxiv. 

The study revealed that the infection after the Omicron variant contributed to immunity more than what was expected from the usual booster dose of vaccinated people. The findings suggest that millions of people who have been vaccinated with Omicron may not immediately develop serious illness from another variant. However, the study has not yet been confirmed officially as the real-world case is yet to be considered. 

Alexandra Walls, a principal scientist at the University of Washington who authored one of the studies, cautioned that people shouldn’t seek out infections in response to the findings. The study was submitted after taking samples of blood from patients who’d had Covid infection and received vaccines including booster doses. 

The blood samples of people who’d contracted the Delta and Omicron variants after receiving 2 or 3 vaccine doses were also taken for the study. Other participants were vaccinated and boosted but had never had Covid and the last category had contracted the virus and had never been vaccinated. 

The result of the study came in favor of the second study. Bioentech’s team argued that the data suggest that offering people an omicron-adapted booster shot may be more beneficial than multiple vaccines with the original vaccine.

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The studies also examined B cells, which produce fresh antibodies in the presence of pathogens, and found that vaccinated people who’d had Omicron got a better response from B cells than people who’d received a booster dose but had never been infected. The response was missing in unvaccinated people who’d had Omicron, says David Veesler from the University of Washington.