Fully vaccinated people who catch Covid 'have super immunity'

Dear reader, I assume if you are reading this story you are probably self-isolating – or at least, have done so recently – because you have tested positive for Covid-19.

Well, for once it’s positive news because you and I (poor, ill writer) may now be ‘super immune’, like a medical equivalent of Superman.

A small study compared 26 vaccinated people at Oregon Health and Science University, in the US, who caught coronavirus to people who were vaccinated but never tested positive.

And the group which had infections after being vaccinated saw a huge surge in antibodies by up to 2,000%.

Study author Fikadu Tafesse, a molecular microbiology and immunology professor, said: ‘The increases were substantial, up to a 1,000% increase and sometimes up to 2,000%, so it’s really high immunity.

‘It’s almost “super immunity”.’

Dr Monica Gandhi, from the University of California in San Francisco, said of the study: ‘This is one of the first that shows a breakthrough infection following vaccination generates stronger immunity than prior infection or vaccination alone.’

Professor Tafesse added: ‘What we’re saying is, we know life happens. If you happen to be exposed to the virus, you’ll have this amazing immune response.’

It is unclear whether all the infected fully vaccinated people in the study caught the new strain of Omicron, or a different variant.

The more promising news comes after another 91,743 Covid-19 infections were confirmed in the UK yesterday.

The UK Health Security Agency said there had been 8,044 additional confirmed cases of the new Omicron variant, bringing the total to 45,145.

Another 44 people have died within 28 days of testing positive for Covid-19.

Another study by Columbia University worryingly found the Omicron variant ‘greatly compromises’ vaccines from the four major brands – Pfizer, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson and AstraZeneca.

And patients who had a booster jab also saw boosted people had 6.5 times fewer antibodies for Omicron than the original virus.

The Columbia study warns therefore that Omicron ‘may still pose a risk’ for people who get a booster injection – though of course it’s better than no booster at all.

‘These findings are in line with emerging clinical data on the Omicron variant demonstrating higher rates of reinfection and vaccine breakthroughs,’ the researchers wrote.

‘Even a third booster shot may not adequately protect against Omicron infection.’

So although the Oregon research only shows early signs, if you’ve been fully vaccinated, boosted and then caught the Omicron variant you may be in a good position in terms of immunity provided your symptoms weren’t too severe.

Marcel Curlin, another co-author of the Oregon study, said: ‘I think this speaks to an eventual end game.

‘It doesn’t mean we’re at the end of the pandemic, but it points to where we’re likely to land: once you’re vaccinated and then exposed to the virus, you’re probably going to be reasonably well-protected from future variants.

‘Our study implies that the long-term outcome is going to be a tapering-off of the severity of the worldwide epidemic.’

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