A new study has found that individuals that have previously contracted COVID-19 show a more potent antibody response than those who were solely vaccinated for the respiratory virus.
Conducted by a research team at Rockefeller University in New York, the analysis found “that between a first (prime) and second (booster) shot of either the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccine, the memory B cells of infection-naïve individuals produced antibodies that evolved increased neutralizing activity against SARS-CoV-2,” but also that “no additional increase in the potency or breadth of this activity was observed thereafter.”
Meanwhile, researchers determined that not only do recovered COVID-19 patients possess neutralizing antibodies up to a year after infection, but that such infection simultaneously assists in offering protection against developing variants.
“Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection produces B-cell responses that continue to evolve for at least one year,” the study read. “During that time, memory B cells express increasingly broad and potent antibodies that are resistant to mutations found in variants of concern.”
The analysis later goes on to conclude, “Memory antibodies selected over time by natural infection have greater potency and breadth than antibodies elicited by vaccination.”
Moreover, the results suggest that “boosting vaccinated individuals with currently available mRNA vaccines would produce a quantitative increase in plasma neutralizing activity but not the qualitative advantage against variants obtained by vaccinating convalescent individuals.”
The study’s findings add to further mounting evidence detailing the level of protection natural immunity offers previously infected COVID-19 patients. Last month, Emory University published an extensive investigation describing the efficiency of long-term immunity against the respiratory virus. Similar discoveries have also been identified in research released by the Cleveland Clinic and the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, respectively.