Pfizer/BioNtech And Moderna MRNA Covid-19 Vaccines Closely Mimic The Immune Response Of Natural SARS-CoV-2 Infections

As more and more variants of SARS-CoV-2 either emerge or make landfall in the United States, the question of whether they’ll be able to bypass the immune defenses we’ve acquired against Covid-19  becomes increasingly pressing.

The official record states that nearly 30 million people across the United States have had Covid-19 at some point in the past year—resulting in, at least in theory, a certain degree of natural immunity—while about 44 million and counting have received at least one dose of a vaccine. Though the immunology of Covid-19 is complex and only partially understood, a recent study comparing the characteristics of naturally occurring and mRNA-induced antibodies against the new variants offers some much-needed insight into the difficulties we can expect to encounter in our attempts to protect ourselves going forward.

The study, published in Nature earlier this month, examines the immune responses of 20 participants vaccinated against Covid-19, comparing them to people who were naturally infected. Of the 20, 14 received the Moderna vaccine and 6 received the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. Researchers measured levels of both antibodies and memory B cells, as well as their duration over time.

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Originally published on Forbes (February 24, 2021)

© William A. Haseltine, PhD. All Rights Reserved.