Vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna mount a “persistent” immune response to COVID-19, according to a new study.
The study, published Monday in the journal Nature, adds to a growing body of evidence that the protection from the virus induced by the vaccines could be long-lasting. It may mean that booster shots for the mRNA coronavirus vaccines aren’t needed anytime soon.
“It’s a good sign for how durable our immunity is from this vaccine,” Ali Ellebedy, an immunologist at Washington University in St. Louis, who led the study, told The New York Times.
Researchers found that the so-called germinal centers in participants’ lymph nodes were highly active nearly four months after the first dose of vaccine, suggesting that fully vaccinated people could have long-term protection.
“Germinal centers are the key to a persistent, protective immune response,” Ellebedy said in a statement.
The study also found that “vaccination led to high levels of neutralizing antibodies effective against three variants of the virus, including the Beta variant from South Africa that has shown some resistance to vaccines,” according to a press release.
While vaccines seem to work against the circulating variants, there is the possibility that further mutations in the future could reduce vaccine efficacy.
Experts told the Times that immunity induced by the mRNA shots could hypothetically last a lifetime in the absence of vaccine-resistant variants.
Deepta Bhattacharya, an immunologist at the University of Arizona, told the Times that “anything that would actually require a booster would be variant-based, not based on waning of immunity.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention last week said that there is no data to currently support a recommendation for coronavirus booster shots. A recommendation for booster shots would likely “only occur” after “evidence of declining protection against illness, such as declines in vaccine effectiveness” or detection of a “variant of concern substantially impacting vaccine protection,” a CDC official said.
The study did not look at the immune response induced by the Johnson & Johnson coronavirus vaccine. ReadMore
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