Breakthrough Infections May Boost Immune Defenses

By Reuters Staff

August 13, 2021

(Reuters) - Breakthrough SARS-CoV-2 infections in fully vaccinated people seem to strengthen their immune defenses, suggests a new study posted on medRxiv ahead of peer review.

One month after a COVID-19 outbreak in a German nursing home, doctors collected blood samples from the 23 elderly residents and four staff members who had tested positive.

They found that vaccinated residents who still got the virus had significantly higher levels of antibodies afterward than vaccinated residents who did not get infected, and they also had more antibodies that were capable of neutralizing variants of the virus.

Coauthor Jorg Timm of Heinrich-Heine-University in Düsseldorf told Reuters the findings suggest there might come a time - after most people have developed some level of immunity to the SARS-CoV-2 virus - when natural infection will have some benefit, but only when it does not lead to severe symptoms or disease.

SOURCE: medRxiv, online July 19, 2021.