Vaccination or Infection? This combination offers the best omicron protection

Does a booster vaccination provide sufficient protection against the omicron variant? How does a corona infection affect the immune system and what is necessary to achieve a high antibody response? A research team from Munich has found a possible answer.

The  corona  virus continues to mutate diligently: while the delta variant in particular dominated last year, the next mutation, the highly contagious omicron variant, is already taking hold. Various mutations in the spike protein of the virus not only ensure a higher risk of infection, omicron is also able to evade the immune response. Although the booster vaccination continues to protect against severe courses, many vaccinated people are currently infected with omicron. Due to lower protection against the virus variant, the recovered status has already been reduced from six to three months. But how does adequate protection against the infectious omicron variant develop?

Triple contact with spike protein required for optimal protection

According to experts, in order to achieve adequate protection against the omicron variant, a total of three contacts with the spike protein are necessary. Neutralizing antibodies are then not only formed in sufficient quantities, but also in a high quality.

High-quality antibodies bind the virus more strongly and are therefore able to react more effectively to the omicron variant. have that advantage

  • triple vaccinated,
  • Recovered with a double vaccination
  • and doubly vaccinated after a breakthrough infection.

171 participants examined since the beginning of the pandemic

The participants are employees of the Klinikum Rechts der Isar of the Technical University of Munich. The people have been examined regularly since the beginning of the pandemic.

98 subjects became infected during the first corona wave, which was triggered by the original type of the virus in spring 2020. The other 73 people did not  contract COVID-19 .

The blood of the participants was tested for various factors:

  • the amount of antibodies (IgG)
  • the binding strength between virus protein and antibodies
  • the ability of the antibodies to neutralize corona variants in cell cultures

Due to its intelligent structure, Omikron escapes the neutralizing antibodies more easily than previous variants. Therefore, more antibodies of higher quality are needed to neutralize the virus.

Intensive laboratory testing of the  blood samples  shows that participants who have achieved triple protection through vaccination and/or infection with Delta or Omicron achieve a higher immune response against all virus variants of concern. The reason for this is the numerous, high-quality antibodies that are developed through triple contact with the spike protein.

 

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