‘Superimmunity’ to people who have been infected and are vaccinated – Health

The combination of vaccination and natural infection, regardless of the order of events, is capable of creating a “superimmunity” against covid-19.

The conclusion follows from a study by the Oregon Health & Science University, in the United States, published at https://www.eltiempo.com/salud/superinmunidad-a-personas-que-han-sido-infectadas-y- are-vaccinated-647831 ‘Science Immunology’ magazine.

According to the research, the amount of antibodies in the blood of infected people after vaccination – and vice versa – is ten times higher than that generated by immunization alone.

The study was done before the appearance of omicron, but scientists expect hybrid immune responses to be similar for the new, highly transmissible variant.

According to the experts heard by O Globo, this result reinforces what has already been shown in previous studies and adds a new superimmunity pathway.

“The most interesting thing is that it shows that the person who has been vaccinated, if infected, is also super protected. There was still no evidence in this regard,” says Dr. Salmo Raskin, geneticist and medical director of the Genetika Laboratory in Curitiba.


To reach this conclusion, the researchers analyzed the immune response of 104 people who were vaccinated against covid-19.

They were divided into three groups: 42 vaccinated without previous infection, 31 who received the immunization after an infection and another 31 who became infected after vaccination. The scientists then drew blood from the participants and the samples were exposed in the laboratory to three variants of Sars-CoV-2: Alpha (B.1.1.7), Beta (B.1.351) and Delta (B.1.617). two).

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The results showed that the two groups with “hybrid immunity”, made up of those who were vaccinated after becoming infected and vice versa, generated the highest levels of antibodies compared to the group that was only vaccinated. In both cases, the immune response measured in blood serum revealed antibodies that were equally abundant and at least ten times more potent than the protection generated by vaccination alone.

“The more you expose yourself to antigens, the greater the benefit. If the person had covid-19, for example, the vaccine will stimulate, select and expand the defense cells that the natural infection selected”, explains Raskin.

Although the natural infection and the vaccination they stimulate the immune system, they act differently. Therefore, adds the geneticist, there is complementation.

Infectologist Renato Kfouri, director of the Brazilian Society of Immunizations (SBIm), adds that “hybrid immunity generates a more robust response not only in antibody levels, but in other defense fronts, such as cellular immunity, in which memory B lymphocytes are capable of recognizing infectious agents”.

The more you are exposed to antigens, the greater the benefit

There is some work indicating that hybrid immunity is more effective in preventing new infections and also in reducing transmission. However, it should be noted that this does not mean that people who have this type of immunity can abandon preventive care.

To begin with, there are still no studies that show, in practice, to what extent this reinforcement translates into protection. Also, it is not known how long this defense lasts.

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“Most of the available studies are laboratory studies. They point in one direction, but they are not categorical. To answer these questions, it is necessary to carry out studies in the real world, which is not easy to do. But it is they who will test whether, in practice, this increased immune response translates into fewer infections, for example. In addition, it is necessary to observe other variables, such as the vaccine received, the time elapsed between vaccination and infection, the circulating variants, the result considered (if they are more severe or milder forms). There are still many unanswered questions, but it is a construction of knowledge”, says Kfouri.


These results suggest that Sars-CoV-2 may become a mild endemic infection, such as a seasonal respiratory infection, rather than a pandemic.

A study published in September in the journal Nature warned, for example, of the need to take into account the moment in which the infection occurred and also the vaccination period, because even hybrid immunity varies between individuals.

To explain it, Raskin draws an analogy with immunization. take several vaccines followed, without respecting a minimum interval between doses, for example, does not translate into greater protection against the coronavirus.

“There is consensus that a longer interval between doses translates into greater protection, precisely because it gives the body time to produce the immune response, and only when it begins to decline is the time to think about activating it again”, He says.

Despite these gaps and the fact that the study has not specifically evaluated the protection of hybrid immunity against omicron, experts are optimistic about the possibility that the characteristics of the variant, capable of infecting people already vaccinated, help to multiply the people superimmune to covid-19 and therefore bring the world closer to the end of the pandemic.

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“These results suggest that Sars-CoV-2 may become a mild endemic infection, such as a seasonal respiratory tract infection, rather than a pandemic,” one of the authors, Marcel Curlin, an expert in American University Infectology.

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*With information from LA NACIÓN – ARGENTINA (GDA)
American Newspapers Group

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