COVID-19: Why Are We Ignoring Infection-Acquired Immunity?

Sheena Meredith

Antibodies derived from natural infection with COVID-19 are more abundant and more potent – at least 10 times more potent – than immunity generated by vaccination alone, according to a study from Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) in Portland, US, published on January 25.

Three days later, the US Centres for Disease Control (CDC) reported in an MMWR Early Release that before Delta became the predominant variant in June 2021, case rates were higher among people who survived a previous infection than among people who were vaccinated alone. However by early October, those who had been previously infected had lower case rates than those who were vaccinated alone.

These studies focus renewed attention on the ongoing debate about the importance of infection-acquired immunity and the extent to which it should be taken into account in public health policy.

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