Coronavirus: Will boostershots be the new normal? | Coronavirus and Covid-19 – Latest News on COVID-19 | DW

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For now, covid-19 Booster shots are necessary as the number of antibodies in the blood decreases with time. With mRNA vaccines, the effect seems to start to diminish about six months after humans receive a second dose.

With disposable vaccines such as those developed by Johnson & Johnson, the German Standing Committee on Vaccination (STIKO) even recommends that people get a booster injection before the end of six months.

Future covid-19 vaccines will probably need to be adapted to effectively protect against new variants of the coronavirus, just as influenza vaccines will be adapted to new strains. Vaccines are already being developed to protect against mutations in the delta variant.

A woman holds up her vaccination card

Covid-19 booster shots can eventually become routine

Facing endemic covid-19

Given the current rate of infection in Europe, there is still a chance that herd immunity can be achieved through a combination of infection and vaccinations.

When it comes to immunity, maybe it’s not just that a matter of antibodies, as evidenced by the preliminary, as yet unexamined results of a study conducted by a large team of researchers from the UK and Singapore recently published in the scientific journal Nature.

For a period of months, the researchers monitored healthcare professionals who had potentially been exposed to the coronavirus but who had not become recognizably ill with covid-19 and who had never tested positive. Serological antibody tests also did not show any noticeable results.

Researchers in the state of New York

Researchers around the world are trying to develop drugs to fight the coronavirus

Robust memory T cells

The researchers found that the 58 seronegative care staff (SN-HCW) had more multispecific memory T cells than a comparative cohort whose potential exposure to the coronavirus was much lower.

The T cells were specifically targeted to the replication transcription complex (RTC), which efficiently spreads the virus.

The study found that the SN-HCW T cells had a higher amount of IFI27, a protein that is “a robust early congenital signature of SARS-CoV-2”, and concluded that this was a suggestion of “abortive infection.”

Therefore, the T cells may have terminated the infection early. What remains unclear is where the 58 SN-HCWs got their unusually high T cell immunity from. Could it have come from a previous infection with another coronavirus, for example, a cold virus?

One possible conclusion may be that repeated exposure to coronavirus, such as SARS-CoV-2 – if it became endemic and if humans came into frequent contact with a small number of pathogens – could lead to better immune response, either with antibodies or T cells. This would bring us one step closer to herd immunity.

So far, researchers have recommended caution and insist that no one should feel completely safe and assume that they are immune to the coronavirus because there is still a very high risk of not being immune.


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