A new study shows that the COVID-19 vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna could provide shielding against the virus for "years." Scientists sought to identify whether vaccination alone will provide long-lasting protection against the COVID-19, following research suggesting that the vaccines may offer years of protection for individuals who were previously infected with the coronavirus.
The study was comprised of 41 people who received two doses of the Pfizer vaccine. The researchers extracted samples from the lymph nodes of the participants.
Researchers from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, Mo., published their findings on Monday in the journal "Nature. " They examined immune responses in 14 individuals who were given both doses of the Pfizer vaccine, particularly focusing on the "germinal centres."
The study concludes that either the Pfizer or the Moderna vaccine offers robust protection for at least 12 weeks following a second dose and could offer low-level protection for at least one year. According to the researchers, the vaccines offer "robust and prolonged" protection, reported Web MD.
Dr. Christian Ramers, an infectious disease specialist at Family Health Centers of San Diego, remarked, "I think it's encouraging that as a general rule the general population may not need boosters going forward. In fact, we may have selected administration of boosters for example to older people or immune-compromised people who may be more likely to lose that response over time," per KPBS.
The researchers found out that 15 weeks following the first dose the total number of memory cells that recognized the coronavirus had not deteriorated. The fact that the reactions continued for nearly four months following vaccination is a "very, very good sign," according to Washington University in St. Louis immunologist Ali Ellebedy, who led the study.
Germinal centres indicate sites where antibody cells could train to better recognize and battle viruses. Such centres are essential to antibody production and are produced as a result of a viral infection or an inoculation.
The researchers propose that coronavirus immunity could last for years, or even a lifetime, in people who had the illness, recovered and were inoculated. The researchers, spearheaded by Ali H. Ellebedy, Ph.D., of the Department of Pathology and Immunology at Washington University School of Medicine in St Louis, caution that variants of the virus that surface in the future may change the effectiveness of the vaccines.
According to Ramers, the new study evaluated the cells which created antibodies that fend off the coronavirus. They were detected at least twelve weeks after participants became fully inoculated. The study's researchers touted the findings as remarkable. However, a mere sample size of 41 people 55were assessed.
This suggested that Pfizer and Moderna vaccines could shield against COVID-19 for years or, at least, against the existing coronavirus variants. The report underscored that even if that is the case, COVID-19 vaccine boosters could remain to be necessary for some, including older adults and individuals with weak immune system, reported The Week.