It is currently one of the most important and interesting medical questions: How long are we protected after the vaccination or after a corona infection? The answers: range from six months to several years. Nobody knows exactly yet. But there is also the opposite: namely people with a particularly effective immune response, super immunity.
One thing is clear: especially older and immunocompromised people seem to need a booster vaccination after almost six months. The antibody level then sinks to a level that in some cases no longer protects against illness. So what’s the case for super immunity.
Antibodies keep developing
What is now known: People who have survived infection and who have also been vaccinated seem to have a particularly high level of protection. Research at Rockefeller University in New York shows how effective this protection is.
The antibodies of recovered persons who were additionally vaccinated not only seem to destroy the virus variants already known, but also fought a virus constructed for the investigations. This virus contained 20 mutations that are known to prevent the binding of SARS-CoV-2 antibodies. It is very likely that these particularly effective antibodies will work against all virus variants that will appear in the foreseeable future.
The surprising thing, the scientists emphasize: the antibodies of those who have recovered and who have been vaccinated continue to develop and, over time, even become more resistant to mutations within the virus.
- Why is the Corona Delta variant so worrying? Find out what the experts are saying
- Which vaccination works best against the Delta variant?
- What is the ePA – and when and where do I get one?
- Corona rules: 2G now applies in these German federal states
- How safe is the 3G plus rule in clubs? Without a mask and social distancing
Recovered and vaccinated?
Antibodies mutate just like viruses. As long as the virus or antigen is in the body, the antibodies are optimized by the cells. The strongest and most effective prevail. ”This process is very typical for antiviral processes. The immune system tries out, so to speak, which antibody is the best.
The difference between “recovered” and “vaccinated” in the body:
In those who have recovered, antibodies are formed against the entire virus or various virus structures. Among other things against the nucleoprotein. Since only the blueprint for the spike protein is injected during the vaccination, those who have been vaccinated only develop antibodies against this protein. That is enough to protect against corona disease. Antibodies with greater and possibly also long-term flexibility seem to exist after the combination of infection and vaccination.
Infection plus vaccination = super immunity?
Recovery plus vaccination seems to be the perfect combination. But does it also work the other way around?
In other words: Are there particularly effective antibodies when vaccinated people become infected with Corona? In this context, infection means for vaccinated people: The virus penetrates the body, but usually does not cause any symptoms.
If, according to the virologist Prof. Dr. Christian Drosten from the Berlin Charité, the answer is: yes.
In the current episode of his podcast “Corona Update”, he explains: “My goal as a Virologist Drosten, as I would like to become immune now, is: I want to have immunity and then I want to have my first general infection at some point the second and the third have. (…) And then I know I’m really immune to long-term resilience. “
However, there is no data on this effect. The researchers at Rockefeller University also emphasize that they have not yet been able to answer this question.
Prof. Dr. Peter Kremsner, a virologist at the Tübingen University Hospital, thinks Prof. Drosten’s thesis is plausible. “It is likely that an infection after a vaccination will boost and strengthen the specific immune response and protection,” he explains. However, he does not want to make a general recommendation for all vaccinated persons to please become infected. Drosten also emphasizes that this does NOT apply to everyone.
“As a relatively healthy adult, I can justify that for myself. There are other sections of the population who of course cannot do that, ”says Drosten.
Radbruch does not deny that it could lead to stronger immunity if vaccinated people also become infected. However, he explains: “There is still no data showing that infections after vaccination lead to better immunity than if one were to be vaccinated again. That is why it sounds a bit adventurous to want to intentionally become infected after a full vaccination.”
Mask requirement at 2G (vaccinated and recovered) then not pointless?
Hamburg was the first federal state to venture to leave it to restaurateurs and organizers to only admit those who have been vaccinated and those who have recovered – the 2G rule. Those who have been tested then have to stay outside. However, you must wear a mask indoors (except when you are standing or sitting).
Assuming that the immune protection of vaccinated and recovered people may be increased if they are infected with the virus, it does not seem to make much sense.
Kremsner: “Hygiene measures such as wearing a face mask do not make sense in this case and, in my opinion, can be left out.”
Radbruch is a little more cautious: “Since we know that those who have been vaccinated and those who have recovered can become infected and pass the virus on to others, it makes perfect sense from an immunological point of view that everyone should wear a mask. In the end it would be the people who suffered who had only a weak vaccination response to their vaccinations or those who have not yet been vaccinated.”