Differences in immune responses could optimize future COVID-19 vaccines


COVID-19 vaccine bottle

A team of researchers has found that a person’s immune response to SARS-CoV-2 variants depends on their previous exposure to infection and vaccination, which could help optimize future vaccines.

New study, published in the journal ScienceWhich involved a collaboration of ten research institutions, including the University of Cambridge, and unveiled a snapshot of early global population immunity to COVID-19.

Vaccines provide immunity to individuals without exposure to the disease or its complications.

By activating the immune system to recognize and respond rapidly to the SARS-CoV-2 virus upon exposure, the vaccines prevent it from causing disease.
However, like other viruses, the SARS-CoV-2 virus continues to mutate to challenge human immunity.

After collecting 207 serum samples from blood samples of people who were infected with SARS-CoV-2 variants or who had previously been vaccinated against SARS-CoV-2 with multiple doses of the Moderna vaccine, researchers Immunity analyzed. Had developed.

Using a technique called antigenic cartography, the team compared the similarity of different SARS-CoV-2 virus variants to measure how well human antibodies form in response to infection with one virus versus infection with one of its variants. Are.

Funded by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and the National Institutes of Health, the study found significant differences between immune responses depending on which variant a person was first infected with.

As a result, the antigenic map revealed connections between a broad selection of previously circulating SARS-CoV-2 variants.
“If the virus mutates in a specific area, some people’s immune systems will also not recognize the virus,” said Dr. Samuel Wilkes of the Center for Pathogen Evolution in the Department of Zoology at the University of Cambridge.

The Omicron variants were completely different from the others, which explains why individuals are still contracting Omicron infections despite previous vaccination or infection with a different variant.

Professor Derek Smith, Director of the Center for Pathogen Evolution, Department of Zoology, University of Cambridge, said: “These results give us a deeper understanding of how we can optimize the design of future COVID-19 booster vaccines “

He said: “We want to know the dominant virus variants to be used in vaccines to best protect people in the future.”

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