With the Omicron variant of Covid-19 seemingly able to overcome vaccine-induced immunity to some degree, researchers in Oregon have come up with a new formula for “super immunity” – and it ultimately involves catching the virus.
Although early research indicates the Omicron variant of Covid-19 may be more vaccine-resistant than previous strains, a new study by researchers at Oregon Health & Science University has found that full vaccination, followed by infection with Covid-19, produces the strongest protection yet, something the researchers call “super immunity.”
The study, which concedes that vaccination is not as effective as once thought thanks to so-called ‘breakthrough infections,’ found that people who were vaccinated and then caught Covid-19 were left with immunity levels up to 2,000% higher than those who were only inoculated.
“You can’t get a better immune response than this,” OHSU Professor Fikadu Tafesse told the university’s news site, while study co-author Marcel Curlin said that the results point to “a tapering-off of the severity of the worldwide epidemic.”
While none of the study’s subjects were infected with the newer Omicron strain, Curlin said that “based on the results of this study we would anticipate that breakthrough infections from the Omicron variant will generate a similarly strong immune response among vaccinated people.”
Curlin described Covid shots as providing “a foundation of protection” on which to build this so-called “super immunity”.
Other research has also pointed to the protection offered by a combined approach. An Israeli study found that those with natural immunity were 13 times less likely to become infected with the Delta strain than those who had taken two doses of Pfizer’s vaccine, while participants who had natural immunity and were administered a single dose of vaccine were even more protected against reinfection than those with natural immunity alone.