While vaccines are unable to protect against new strains, cellular immunity reduces the effects of new infections.
Immune cells from people who have acquired COVID are as potent against new variants of the coronavirus as against older variants. That is the conclusion of a study from from the La Jolla Institute of Immunology and the University of California, San Diego (USA).
These immune cells, unlike antibodies, do not prevent a person from getting the infection again. However, if they acquire a new strain, immune cells do help to quickly eliminate the virus and prevent serious infection.
“These data provide positive news given concerns about the impact of the new variants,” conclude the authors of the research in a scientific article presented as prepublication on the bioRxiv server.
Researchers analyzed the activity of CD4+ and CD8+ immune cells against four variants of the SARS-CoV-2 virus: the British, the South African, the Californian and the Brazilian from Manaus.
CD8 + are responsible for destroying infected cells, while CD4+ are cells that help the immune response.
The results show that, in people who have been exposed to earlier variants of the coronavirus, “immune cell responses are key in handling the effects of those variants,” the researchers conclude.
These results come the same week that another study warned that the Manaus variant may be able to elude neutralizing antibodies produced by vaccines.
That finding would mean that inoculation with vaccines would not achieve the anxiously awaited herd immunity, as health authorities have proposed. It is precisely behind this idea that vaccines can produce herd immunity that governments are pushing COVID vaccines on the population.
According to this study, neutralizing antibodies are reduced to one sixth after the first infection, and between 25 and 61 percent of people who have had COVID are susceptible to reinfection with the P.1 variant.
Also, the South African variant has shown the ability to partially elude the neutralizing antibodies acquired against previous variants.
Variant P.1 has already been found in at least 19 countries. The South African, in more than 40 countries. If those variants were to spread further they could compromise the proposed “vaccination passport” which are now being developed and that will be imposed as a condition to work and travel.
As this study shows, people who have been vaccinated could be re-infected with these variants, rendering the vaccines useless.
The only immunity that seems to provide protection against all COVID variants is that which people acquire after being exposed to COVID. This is why it is more important than ever to understand that lockdowns as inefficient tools to end the pandemic.
Not only does confinement not help stop the spread of infection, but also fails to create natural herd immunity, the only true protector against new variants.