Home LATEST NEWS Omicron Could Boost Waning Immunity, Scientists Say | Coronavirus

Omicron Could Boost Waning Immunity, Scientists Say | Coronavirus


Tests carried out on approximately 9,000 blood samples from donations across Canada show that antibodies in the blood that fight the virus declined during the month of October in all age groups, and experts believe this The decline in immunity probably continued in November and December.

A graphic representation of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus.

A graphic representation of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus.

Photo: getty images / istockphoto / Teka77

But the head of the COVID-19 Immunity Task Force, which advises the government, says the highly contagious Omicron variant could provide a immune dividend offering new protection against future infections.

Scientists in the working group are currently analyzing the extent of immunity offered by Omicron, as well as the immune protection memory in cells, which can be activated in future COVID-19 infections.

With studies by the Working Group on Immunity Levels fueling government policy on vaccine boosters, the findings are likely to influence when and how many doses people may receive in the future.

Dr Tim Evans, chief executive of the task force, which is advising the government on its response to the pandemic, said in an interview that studying immunity through the Omicron variant was now a priority.

Large sections of the population are now infected with Omicron and it is therefore one of the priorities of the working group, to understand the immune benefit of infection with Omicron.

A quote from Dr Tim Evans, Managing Director of the Working Group

If it’s strong and long-lasting in terms of immune memory, it could impact how and when we think about the need and timing of boosters, Evans said.

He also claimed that Omicron is now so widespread that our test systems can’t keep pace.

Canadian Blood Services tests blood samples from donors over the age of 17 every month for the presence of antibodies that fight COVID-19. She detected a surge in immunity last summer, after Canadians received their second shot of the vaccine. But in September, she noticed that antibodies that could fight the virus were declining in people over the age of 70.

A report by Canadian Blood Services, completed this week and analyzing blood donated in October, shows immunity had waned among all donors, from 17-year-olds to retirees.

Sheila O’Brien, associate director of epidemiology and surveillance at Canadian Blood Services, said the organization was uniquely positioned to provide information on the presence of antibodies to COVID-19 in large numbers of people across Canada relatively quickly.

She said antibodies capable of fighting the virus were significantly higher in people who were vaccinated than in people who had not been vaccinated.

About two weeks after vaccination, antibody levels peak and then gradually decline.

A quote from Sheila O’Brien, Associate Director of Epidemiology and Surveillance at Canadian Blood Services

Dr Evans predicted that the drop in immunity, measured in the blood, would continue to show up in data from November and December. But he added that the task force would study whether immunity has been boosted by the growing number of people who have contracted the Omicron variant.

Weakened immunity task force findings prompted government to offer vaccine boosts to vulnerable groups, such as organ transplant patients with weaker immunity and the elderly. .

Dr Bruce Mazer, immunologist and associate scientific director of the COVID-19 Immunity Working Group, said that even as antibody levels in the blood decline, the body’s immune system has a memory. cell of a virus and can mobilize to fight it. He added that people who have been vaccinated, who have had the virus, or both, generate cellular immunity.

Other parts of the immune system are on hold and act as sentinels […] You have T-cell memory which helps fight the virus, and B-cell memory which helps make new groups of antibodies.

A quote from Dr. Bruce Mazer, Immunologist and Associate Scientific Director of the COVID-19 Immunity Working Group

The McGill University professor said the working group is currently studying this rescue immune response, as well as the immune response to the Omicron variant, which he says has 50 mutations, compared to the original COVID-19 virus.

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