The immune response to a coronavirus infection can differ from person to person, and it reportedly might not be adequate enough to combat the Alpha and Beta variants of the virus, claims a new study that emphasizes the need for vaccination.
The study discovered that individuals who had a poor immune response profile, acquired at approximately one and six months after infection, failed to demonstrate any neutralizing antibodies against the Alpha and Beta variants.
The pre-print study headed by the University of Oxford, with collaboration from the universities of Liverpool, Newcastle, Birmingham, and Sheffield, shows that infection, whether asymptomatic or symptomatic, may not consistently protect people against COVID-19 over a long period, especially against novel variants of concern.
According to University of Oxford’s Christina Dold, the study is among the most comprehensive examinations of the immune response to COVID-19 in both symptomatic and asymptomatic patients. It is highly crucial to get the COVID vaccine as soon as it becomes available, even if people think that they have had COVID-19 previously.
The study discovered that people responded to COVID-19 in very diverse ways, with some in the asymptomatic and symptomatic groups exhibiting no signs of immunological memory six months after infection or even sooner, Dold added.
Under the study, researchers looked at how immune systems responded to COVID-19 in 78 healthcare workers who had either asymptomatic or symptomatic illness. A total of eight patients that had severe disease were included in the study for comparison.
Blood samples were collected monthly from one to six months after infection to investigate various aspects of the immune response. The study demonstrates a highly complicated and varied immune response to COVID-19 infection.
The researchers also discovered an early immunological signature, visible one month after infection and connected to both cellular and antibody immunity, that predicted the intensity of the immune response evaluated six months later.
This is the first time such a signature has been discovered, and it contributes to a better understanding of the formation of long-lasting immunity.