The disclosure of the new variant of coronavirus, Omicron, formally given the name of B.1.1.529 by the World Health Organization, has posed a big question mark over the efficacy of the existing vaccines against it.
The Allied Regulations On ‘Mix And Match’ – The Response Of Boosters
Global scientists have been researching upon the mRNA vaccines by Pfizer- Biotech and the Moderna studies have been performed on the effectiveness of Johnson and Johnson for a potential fight against the newly emerging variant.
They have come up with a probable solution that is predicted to increase the immune response shooting up the antibodies. A booster dose is being suggested to provide a shield against severe diseases.
A case-controlled study on the existing vaccines
There was a study conducted by Dan Baruch of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Centre and Harvard Medical School along with his team, they took a sample of 65 volunteers who were already vaccinated with two doses of Pfizer-Biotech. They were administered with a booster dose of Johnson and Johnson’s vaccine.
The Observations thereafter
The administration of a booster dose could bring about a sustained response of antibody to the original as well the alpha and beta variants of the virus.
The Pfizer-BioNTech was able to trigger a quicker and stronger immune response which eventually dropped off faster.
At week 4, the effects of the neutralizing antibody effects were quite comparable. But after four weeks the observations went like dropping off the antibody levels in those who were boosted with Pfizer whereas it continued to surge in people who were administered the booster dose of Johnsons and Johnsons. Even the upsurge in the number of immune cells called CD8 T-cells was quite prominent.
The empiricism in the results could lead to the conclusion that Johnson and Johnson’s booster dose could outperform Pfizer-BioNTech in raising the immune response.
Mix and match strategy
The reports and findings continue to aim at the concerns associated with Omicron that revolve around whether it could evade the shield provided by natural infections or vaccines and this is where the scientists formulate federal rules on booster shots with a “mix and match” Strategy. It was recently authorized by the United States Centre for disease control and preventions enabling the eligible American citizens to get administered with a booster shot from a brand different from their original vaccine.
Why a booster dose?
The researches on how the immunity and vaccine efficacy shift over time, has addressed the issue of bringing clarity to the reasons some people could benefit from the authorized shots. They are intended to retain the antibodies which are basically the first line of immune protection preventing a virus from ever infecting T-cells. This is often mistakenly perceived that the vaccine could stop the infection which actually does not. The T-cell’s defense can further prevent them from progressing into severe diseases but not mild infections. All three vaccines which are authorized by the US work by instructing the body to form the spike protein from the SAR-COV-2 virus causing COVID-19. The mRNA vaccines by Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna frames the blueprint of the spike in the form of mRNA whereas the Johnson and Johnson vaccine provides DNA instructions with the coat of a different virus called a Viral Vector
Is the booster dose enough to fight Omicron?
According to Sir Barouch, the studies that have been conducted so far have not included the Omicron variant. But the findings could be reliable for evolving the ways to brawl with the new variant.
As per the existing sets of knowledge present, it is known that Omicron can evade the antibody responses and the CD8-T cells’ responses partially. Still, it is relevant specifically in case a new variant emerging escapes the antibodies. The booster shots therefore could be helpful in increasing both the antibodies and the T-cell responses.
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