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COVID infections may give more potent immunity than vaccines - but that doesn't mean you should try to catch it

Infected, Vaccinated, or Both: How Protected Am I From COVID?

Are Antibodies Different After Infection Compared to Vaccination?

Yes. And researchers don't yet understand what these differences mean.

It seems to come down to a question of quality versus quantity. Vaccines seem to produce higher peak antibody levels than natural infections do. But these antibodies are highly specialized, able to recognize only the parts of the virus they were designed to target.

"The mRNA vaccine directs all the immune responses to the single spike protein," says Alice Cho, PhD, who is studying the differences in vaccine and infection-created immunity at The Rockefeller University in New York. "There's a lot more to respond to with a virus than there is in a vaccine."

During an infection, the immune system learns to recognize and grab onto many parts of the virus, not just its spike.

The job of remembering the various pieces and parts of a foreign invader, so that it can be quickly recognized and disarmed should it ever return, falls to immune cells called memory B cells.

Memory B cells, in turn, make plasma cells that then crank out antibodies that are custom tailored to attach to their targets.

'Sapere aude'
by Oui (Oui) on Thu Dec 9th, 2021 at 11:24:10 AM EST
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