It is known that if you receive the COVID-19 mRNA vaccine, more circulating antibodies are produced than when you are infected with the new corona. However, a study found that the memory B cells generated by mRNA vaccination and natural infection are not the same.
When vaccinated, even if memory B cells are generated, they develop only for a few weeks, but when they are infected with Corona and recover, the memory B cells develop for several months, producing antibodies that are much more effective and capable of removing mutations.
Professor Michel C. Nussenzweig, head of the Molecular Immunology Research Center at Rockefeller University, USA, and his team compared and analyzed blood samples from patients recovering from COVID-19 and those from mRNA vaccinated people without a history of infection.
Once generated, the number of memory B cells was similar to each other.
When the mRNA vaccine was administered, memory B cells developed rapidly and produced more and more memory antibodies even before the second dose. However, after two months, this developmental process stopped. Although a large number of memory B cells still produced antibodies, the antibodies did not become stronger overall.
Some of the antibodies also showed the ability to neutralize corona mutations such as delta, but the number of such antibodies did not increase further. However, in patients recovering from infection, the development of memory B cells and improvement in efficacy continued until a year later.
As a result, all memory B cells better remember the epitope of the novel coronavirus and produced antibodies with superior neutralizing efficacy.
The research team made several inferences as to the reason for this difference.
First, he explained that the human body can react differently to a virus that invades through the airway and a vaccine injected into the upper arm. The virus may stimulate the immune system in a way that vaccine spike proteins alone cannot.
Some analyzes suggest that the virus remains in the body of an infected person for several weeks after infection, allowing time for a strong immune response to occur. Vaccines, in contrast, trigger a targeted immune response and are eliminated from the body within a few days.
The results of this study suggest that the development of memory B cells is inevitably limited when an immune response is induced with an mRNA vaccine. This could also affect the development and launch of booster shots vaccines.
It is also pointed out that if memory B cells are created with a booster shot of the mRNA vaccine currently being inoculated, antibodies that show strong protective efficacy only for the novel coronavirus before the appearance of mutations will be produced.
Professor Nusenzweig, the corresponding author of the paper, said, “The timing of placing the booster shot depends on what the purpose is. “With this goal, you won’t need a booster shot for years to come.”
Meanwhile, the results of this research conducted by Professor Nusenzweig’s research team were published as a thesis in the journal ‘Nature’ on the 7th (local time).