More than a year after the start of the pandemic, you probably already know that recovering from a case of COVID usually provides some level of protection in the months that follow. However, as pointed out by a team of French researchers from the Institut Pasteur and the Vaccine Research Institute (VRI) of the University of Paris-Est Créteil, the exact nature of this protection has, so far, been “wrong.” characterized ”. They say data is particularly lacking on surrounding asymptomatic COVID cases, which they say could account for nearly half of all infections. Because of this, many patients who have had mild cases of COVID do not know if they are protected after recovery.
That’s why the team set out to shed light on the level of protection after symptomless infections, sharing their findings in the review. Cell Reports Medicine Last week. They confirmed that asymptomatic infections leave behind an important type of antibody – a finding that could change the way we understand immunity in asymptomatic cases. Read on to find out what they found and to learn more about protecting against COVID, this unique vaccine can protect you against all variants, according to a new study.
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According to researchers, COVID infections leave “polyfunctional antibodies” in the body after healing. They are called “polyfunctional” because they prevent reinfection using more than one method, explains Timothée Bruel, co-author of the study and researcher at the Virus & Immunity Unit of the Pasteur Institute and at VRI.
“This study has shown that individuals infected with SARS-CoV-2 have antibodies capable of attacking the virus in different ways,” Bruel shared via a press release. He explained that these antibodies make virus particles more infectious in two ways. First, they prevent the virus from entering healthy cells (a process called “neutralization”). Second, they activate cells called “Natural Killer” or “NK”, which kill infected cells with non-neutralizing cytotoxicity. And for more up-to-date COVID information delivered straight to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.
Until recently, there was little data on the ability of asymptomatic COVID infections to produce strong neutralizing antibodies. However, the French study found that polyfunctional antibodies both block entry of cells and also kill infected cells, even in asymptomatic cases. The team concluded that both types “of infection induce antibodies capable of killing infected cells regardless of the severity of the disease.” And for more essential COVID news, you are more likely to contract COVID after vaccination if you are past that age.
The team also compared the strength of protection following asymptomatic and symptomatic cases. They found that polyfunctional antibody levels were only “slightly lower” in asymptomatic cases.
“The study reveals new mechanisms of action of anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibodies and suggests that the protection induced by asymptomatic infection is very close to that observed after symptomatic infection,” Olivier Schwartz, study co-author and scientist at VRI, commented via Science Daily.
While this is undoubtedly good news for anyone who has had an asymptomatic case of COVID, experts still say you should plan to get vaccinated for lasting protection against the virus.
White House COVID Advisor Says Anthony Fauci, MD, getting vaccinated after recovering from a natural infection will greatly increase the “durability” of protection. He pointed out that following a full regimen of Pfizer or Moderna vaccines can increase neutralizing antibody levels tenfold in the second dose. And to find out more about the vaccine, this is the only way to know if your COVID vaccine worked, doctors say.