Covid-19 vaccine boosters may increase protection against new variants, research showsAbdul Gh Lone 31 August 2021 0 COMMENTS
How well do vaccines protect against the new variants of the coronavirus? This is a question we – a group of scientists and doctors in Nottingham – set about answering earlier this year, having collected blood samples from a number of nurses and doctors throughout the pandemic.
We started taking blood from healthcare workers back in April 2020, in the peak of the first wave, to see how many of them had been infected with the coronavirus and what their levels of antibodies were. We followed up with them in the summer and then again in the autumn, so we knew exactly who had had Covid-19 and when.
We then asked a group of them to give us blood samples after they had received their first and second vaccine doses. We measured their antibody levels after each dose, and also specifically their levels of neutralising antibodies, which are those that attack and nullify the virus (as distinct from binding antibodies, which flag the virus to other immune cells).
We also kept hold of these samples so that we could, in the future, test how well the antibodies created by vaccination neutralised variants of the coronavirus that the participants had not seen. We subsequently measured the antibodies’ activity against the original…