Recovered COVID-19 patients may only need one shot of mRNA vaccines to be protected from virus

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COVID-19 survivors may only need one shot of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine to be protected from the virus, study suggests

  • Researchers looked at 36 people who had previously gotten COVID-19 and 26 people with no known history of the virus
  • COVID-19 survivors had antibody levels after one shot similar to someone who had been severely ill
  • Second shot showed little to not effect in generating antibodies for the COVID survivors 
  • The 26 people with no history of COVID all developed antibody levels similar to someone with a mild infection of the virus after getting the first shot    
  • Results showed antibody levels  naturally decreased by 90% over 85 days, creating the need for a third booster shot in the near future 

People who have recovered from COVID-19 may only need one shot of the vaccine, a new study suggests.

Researchers from the University of California Los Angeles found that people who had been previously infected with the virus had sufficient immune responses to combat COVID-19 after only receiving one shot of a two-dose vaccine.

They also found that the second shot provided no additional immunity to the virus.

The findings provide evidence that many more people around the world are protected than previously believed.

It also adds to the conversation on the natural immunity a person can form from COVID-19, and whether or not natural antibodies are sufficient in stopping reinfection. 

Researchers from UCLA found that people who had recovered from COVID-19 likely only need one dose of a two-shot vaccine to be protected from the virus

Researchers from UCLA found that people who had recovered from COVID-19 likely only need one dose of a two-shot vaccine to be protected from the virus

For the study, published in ACS Nano, the team recruited 36 people who had previously gotten COVID-19 and 26 people with no known history of the virus.

Each participant received one shot of either the Pfizer-BioNTech or the Moderna coronavirus vaccine.

The 26 people with no history of COVID, and by virtue no antibodies, all developed antibody levels similar to someone with a mild infection of the virus after getting the first shot and it took two doses to have levels on par with someone who had been severely ill with the virus.

But the 36 COVID-19 survivors all showed antibody levels similar to someone who had been severely infected after just one dose.

What’s more, they showed no increase in antibody levels  after receiving a second doses . 

The results lead researchers to believe that antibodies produced naturally by a COVID infection may be valid replacements for part of the mRNA vaccines.

‘Our data suggest that a person who previously had COVID-19 has a huge response after the first mRNA vaccination and has little or no benefit from the second dose,’ senior author Dr. Otto Yang, professor at the UCLA School of Medicine, said in as statement

‘It is worth considering changing public health policy to take this into account both to maximize vaccine usage and avoid unnecessary side effects.’ 

Previous research finds that natural antibodies from COVID could protect a person from the virus for up to ten months. 

Another study also found that after 28 days, people who had received just one shot of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine were 95 percent less likely to contract the virus.  

However, the UCLA team also found that antibody levels naturally decreased by 90 percent over 85 days – whether they previously had COVID or not – meaning that a third booster shot will likely be required at some point. 

Dr Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, and Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla have both said the need for the third shot could come as early as September

A booster shot of the vaccine may also be required to protect from the ever-growing crop of variants of the virus popping up around the world.    

Health experts still recommend getting both shots of the COVID-19 vaccine when available, whether someone has been previously infected or not.

Currently, about 65 percent of Americans have received at least one shot of the COVID-19 vaccine. 

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