You need three COVID-19 exposures to get a broad immunity for omicron

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In a new study from the Technical University of Munich, researchers found the immune system develops a high-quality antibody response after three encounters with the coronavirus spike protein.

These antibodies are also capable of neutralizing omicron efficiently.

This applies to people who are triple-vaccinated, to those having recovered and then received two vaccinations, and to double-vaccinated individuals who have experienced a breakthrough infection.

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, SARS-CoV-2 has continued to evolve, with new variants of concern (VoCs) spreading rapidly.

Highly contagious and partially capable of evading the immune response, omicron has become the dominant variant in most countries.

In the study, the team found a total of three exposures to the viral spike protein leads to the production of virus-neutralizing antibodies not only in high quantity but also high quality.

These high-quality antibodies bind to the viral spike protein more vigorously and are also capable of effectively fighting the omicron variant.

This applies to triple-vaccinated people, to people who have recovered from COVID-19 and then had two vaccinations, and to double-vaccinated people who then had a breakthrough infection.

In the study, the researchers identified individuals who had contracted SARS-CoV-2 during the first wave of the pandemic in spring 2020, and compared them to the second group of people who had not been infected.

Subsequently, both groups were offered vaccination with the mRNA-based COVID-19 vaccine from BioNTech/Pfizer and were monitored for almost two years.

The cohort comprised 98 recovered persons and 73 persons without prior infection.

The team found omicron exhibited the most pronounced evasion from neutralizing antibodies compared to all other viral variants tested.

For omicron, people need considerably more and better antibodies to prevent infection.

The researchers developed a new virus neutralization test, which allowed them to analyze antibodies in many serum samples and different variants of the virus at high throughput rates.

They showed that three separate exposures to the spike protein can build up high-level neutralizing activity against all viral variants, including omicron.

If you care about COVID, please read studies about new drug that could prevent COVID-19,

and two paths toward ‘super immunity’ to COVID-19.

For more information about health, please see recent studies about antibodies that can neutralize Omicron, and results showing this drug treatment may prevent COVID death and lung damage.

The study is published in Nature Medicine and was conducted by Prof. Ulrike Protzer et al.

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