Superhuman Immunity: Study Finds Evidence of Very Powerful Defense Against COVID-19
Some previously infected individuals are exhibiting “superhuman immunity” to COVID-19 after they were vaccinated.
According to a study reported by NPR, some people who catch COVID-19 and are later vaccinated develop a very strong immunity to COVID-19, also known as hybrid immunity.
People who develop this type of immunity could even have “some degree of protection against the SARS-like viruses that have yet to infect humans,” Paul Bieniasz, a virologist at Rockefeller University who led the research, told NPR.
The findings are based on a pre-print study, which has not been formally peer-reviewed and should not guide health-related behavior or be reported in the press as conclusive.
Very Powerful Antibodies
Superhuman immunity “appears to be impressively potent,” immunologists say.
According to the pre-print study, individuals who developed “superhuman immunity” produced antibodies to COVID-19 that were so powerful, they were able to defeat all known variants of the COVID-19 virus, including the delta variant.
The study also claims that such individuals are likely to defeat existing and future variants of COVID-19 and similar coronaviruses and future pandemics. They also mention the ability to neutralize a “highly resistant” variant of COVID-19.
“Individuals who had been infected and subsequently received mRNA vaccination neutralized this highly resistant SARS-CoV-2 polymutant, and also neutralized diverse sarbecoviruses,” wrote the scientists in their paper.
“Neutralizing antibodies elicited by prior infection or by vaccination likely represent a key component of protective immunity against SARS-CoV-2,” wrote the scientists.
Do You Have Superhuman Immunity to COVID-19?
If you were infected with COVID-19 in the past and then received your vaccine, it is possible that your body is mounting a superhuman immunity to COVID-19.
But there's a caveat: The study only mentioned mRNA vaccines. Both the Pfizer-BioNTech and the Moderna COVID-19 vaccines use mRNA.
Sinovac, the dominant vaccine being used in the Philippines, is a type of whole virus vaccine, which uses a weakened or deactivated form of the pathogen that causes COVID-19 to trigger protective immunity to it.
People who have had a hybrid exposure to the virus are more likely to develop superhuman immunity.
Specifically, they were infected with the coronavirus in 2020 and then immunized with mRNA vaccines this year.
“Those people have amazing responses to the vaccine,” virologist Theodora Hatziioannou told NPR.
“I think they are in the best position to fight the virus. The antibodies in these people's blood can even neutralize SARS-CoV-1, the first coronavirus, which emerged 20 years ago. That virus is very, very different from SARS-CoV-2.”
NPR is an independent, nonprofit media organization that was founded on a mission to create a more informed public.
Fabian Schmidt, et al. (2021). High genetic barrier to escape from human polyclonal SARS-CoV-2 neutralizing antibodies. bioRxiv: Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. Retrieved from https://bit.ly/3lhNV8X on 12 September 2021.
NPR. (2021). New Studies Find Evidence Of 'Superhuman' Immunity To COVID-19 In Some Individuals. Retrieved from https://n.pr/2VAiQob on 12 September 2021.