Moderna and Pfizer Vaccines May Give Lifelong Protection

Vaccines produced by Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna could provide lifelong protection against the novel coronavirus, a new study suggests.

A recent investigation showed that people who received two doses of either of the injections, which employ the innovative technology of messenger RNA (mRNA), produced strong and persistent immune responses. Besides, both generated high levels of neutralizing antibodies against two of the most contagious SARS-CoV-2 variants.

According to researchers, the results suggest that Pfizer and Moderna jab recipients may have long-lasting immunity.

The New York Times quoted scientists as saying that people who received any of the vaccines could have immunity for years or potentially the rest of their lives, adding that they may not even need boosters.

“It’s a good sign for how durable our immunity is from this vaccine,” lead author Dr. Ali Ellebedy, an immunologist at Washington University in St Louis, told the newspaper.

The study, published Monday in the journal Nature, focused on a group of people that included eight who had previously been diagnosed with COVID-19. Researchers looked at lymph nodes, responsible for making a type of immune system cell called “memory B cell.”

Memory B cells’ function is to attach to the surface of invading pathogens to mark them, signaling other immune cells to destroy them.

They can circulate in the bloodstream for a long time, even years or decades, and the immune system can call them back if they detect another infection. The New York Times explained that lymph nodes get a germinal center, similar to a boot camp, for memory B cells after someone gets vaccinated or gets COVID-19.

The germinal center helps train B cells to recognize the virus genetic sequence and other of its variants.

The scientists’ team analyzed lymph node samples five times, on the third, fourth, fifth, seventh, and 15th weeks after people got their first COVID-19 shot. The study results found that the recipients had very active germinal centers with the same number of memory B cells recognizing the virus cells even four months later.

Dr. Ali Ellebedy explained that germinal centers peaked a week or two after immunization, with most vaccines, before disappearing.

“The fact that the reactions continued for almost four months after vaccination – that’s a very, very good sign,” he said. Although the study looked at people vaccinated with Pfizer, the findings might apply to Moderna’s vaccine as it uses the same technology, he added.