WWith high transmission versions of Omicron now Cause almost everything Of the COVID-19 infection in the United States, most people will likely have become infected, even if they have been vaccinated and boosted. So people naturally wonder if they really need to get Latest booster shot, which is the first to target the Omicron variant. Most people rightly assume that, after recovery, they have developed a good immunity to the virus.
While this is true, researchers are learning more about the different types of immunity that natural infection with the virus provides, compared to that provided by vaccines and boosters. Studies show that after natural infection with a particular strain of SARS-CoV-2, people tend to develop significant levels of antiviral antibodies against that type of virus. This response may, in some cases, be broad enough to provide protection against a wide range of different virus strains. If you are infected, your immune system responds to all the different proteins made by the virus. On the other hand, when you are vaccinated, the body only responds to the viral targets that the vaccines target, which is a limited set of viral genes. This is why the original vaccine, which contained genetic information from the first widely circulated strain of SARS-CoV-2, no longer protects people from infection with the newest virus, specifically Omicron BA.4/5.
But there is a caveat to that potential advantage of natural infection. The immune response the body generates is also related to the amount of virus the body sees. So if someone is exposed to and infected with a large dose of the virus, the body will produce a stronger and broader response than if the person had a lower amount of SARS-CoV-2. This means that not all natural infections are created equal, and there is no general way for people to know how much exposure they had once they were infected. This information comes from laboratory PCR tests, which measure viral load, and most people will not go to doctors’ offices, clinics or hospitals to test for COVID-19 anymore, rather than self-test at home with rapid antigen tests, which are not designed to provide information on Viral load.
2021 study Until I found that not all people who become infected necessarily develop antibodies to fight viruses; In that trial, conducted with volunteers recruited at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, about a third of people did not develop detectable levels of antibodies even after testing positive on PCR tests for COVID-19. Researchers have found that the more severe the symptoms people have, the more likely they are to produce antibodies, and many people with recent Omicron variants have mild symptoms or no symptoms at all, meaning that those people who are asymptomatic may not They are tangibly born. Antibody levels.
There is also a question about how long it takes to protect against natural infection. Regardless of whether you were naturally infected or vaccinated, studies show that antibody levels, the first line of defense in protecting against infection, diminish after several months. It’s also possible that vaccines produce a deeper type of immunity that includes not just antibodies but another type of immune cell called T cells that can remember and respond aggressively to the virus it recognizes if people become infected again. 2021 study It found that people who had contracted COVID-19 and remained unvaccinated were twice as likely to contract the infection than people who had been vaccinated after contracting COVID-19.
The bottom line is that any immunity, whether from natural infections or vaccinations, doesn’t last forever. Because COVID-19 is a relatively new disease, researchers are still trying to disentangle how the body responds to the virus and the types of immunity the immune system generates. As this data grows, the most reasonable strategy at this point is to continue to boost immunity in order to gain as much protection as possible from SARS-CoV-2 infection or becoming severely ill. this means Get booster doses Even if you do become infected, about three months after you recover.
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