The novel virus SARS-COV2 (Severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus 2), which invaded the world starting from Wuhan, China during Dec 2019, has constantly been mutating to the recently detected variant named Omicron Covid-19, which was first detected in South Africa.
Booster Dose Of Vaccine To Enhance The Immunity Of Initial Doses
The new variant of the coronavirus by WHO as “of concern” is named Omicron because of its varied number of mutations and high transmissible nature compared to the Delta variant.
Now viewing the severity of the new variant, the COVID booster has been authorized by US Food & Drug Administration (FDA) and recommended by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for a certain group of people.
The need for a booster dose has increased due to the decreasing effect of Pfizer/BioN Tech’s mRNA vaccines in people. The booster dose is given to people to enhance the immunity of initial doses.
The booster dose Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen Vaccine has shown results of less hospitalization against the severe variant. The inoculation of booster dose has shown effectiveness rising to 85% in Covid-19 cases even when Omicron is strolling in South Africa.
A study in a US laboratory has indicated that T-cells of the vaccine provide a strong immunity power to fight against the disease though it does not eliminate or block the virus.
The effectiveness study of the Janssen vaccine from J&J has been examined in 69000 health care workers by Linda Gail Bekker from Cape Town University and researchers from the South African Medical Research Council. The findings of their study have revealed that 84%-85% of cases of hospitalization have been reduced with the introduction of booster dose Ad26COV.2. with a time gap of 6-9 months from the first dose of vaccine.
As per Dr. Glenda Gray, President & CEO of SAMRC, the initiation of the study has been taken up with health care and frontline workers since they are very prone to get affected with Covid-19. He also indicated that the study had provided encouraging results with the vaccine providing strong immunity in the current challenging situation where there is a high risk of exposure and transmission of COVID-19 and its Omicron variant.
Simultaneously, Dr. Dan Barouch and his colleagues at BID Medical Center in Boston have tested blood samples from 65 vaccinated workers for a comparison study with blood samples of Omicron variant. The comparison study was aimed to look after variations and similarities of the antibodies in Omicron variant and booster dose samples.
The comparison study has shown that a booster dose of the J&J vaccine has generated 41 times more antibodies and 5 times more killer T cells. The defensive T-cells (Thymus cells) target the infected cells and destroy them and also provide immunity to COVID-19 even though the antibody becomes less effective during fighting the disease.
On the other hand, the study with the Pfizer vaccine has shown that the booster dose generates 17 times more neutralizing antibodies and 1.4 times more of killer T cells.
So researchers are working out with available scientific data to identify the extent of help that can be obtained from T-cells which produce cytotoxic responses to kill the infected cells and help in maintaining long-lasting immunity.
When a virus attacks a person it gets into the cells in order to survive and replicate. The cells of the immune system cannot see the virus once they reach the inner part of the cell.
In order to combat this situation, the cells use molecules called MHC Class 1 to show the protein pieces present inside the cell at the surface which may include protein fragments made by the virus.
The cytotoxic T-cell of the immune system identifies virally infected cells with the special protein layer on their surface and then kills the virus-infected cells by toxic factors.
The continuous study and research for a vaccine to combat COVID-19 have proved that only T-cells are very much important for protection from virus attacks along with neutralizing antigens. The study also suggests that the Omicron variant is weak to T-cells responses generated due to vaccines.
Further studies by US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have suggested that two messenger RNA vaccines are more effective and safer than J&J vaccines which connect to rare blood clotting issues.
The messenger RNA vaccine helps the cells to create a protein that in return will create an immune response to fight against the virus inside the body. The J&J vaccine helps to create an immune response in T-cells.
FDA has authorized three 3 vaccine boosters –2 messenger RNA vaccines namely Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, and another Janssen/Johnson & Johnson in which Pfizer-BioNTech is only eligible for age groups 16 to 17.
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