A new study has found that people who have been infected with COVID19 in the past and have survived the infection might need only one dose of mRNA vaccine to get full protection against the SARS-CoV-2 virus. The findings of the study support the proposed plan by some experts that says people who have contracted the virus in the past should be given only one dose of the vaccine in order to stretch out the vaccine supply. This study has been done by experts from Mount Sinai. They have been examining some facts of the immunity to the novel coronavirus. Earlier, they have found that natural immunity from a past infection is likely to be more robust and in most cases, it might last for at least six months. However, there is a need for more studies in this area. Experts have said that reinfection as well as possible after the initial infection. They have said that many COVID19 survivors might be at a higher risk of severe disease if they fall sick again. Many doctors and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have said that everyone eligible for the vaccine should go for it even if they have been infected with the virus in the past. Although the vaccine rollout plan has been improving slowly, only around 19 percent of people have received at least one dose of the vaccine. At the same time, less than 10 percent of people have been fully inoculated for COVID19 so far in the country.
Some experts have said that people who have survived the COVID19 disease should be given only one dose of mRNA vaccines such as Pfizer and Moderna in order to speed up the vaccination program. Until now, these two vaccines have been the only available vaccines across the country. However, other experts have warned that it is still unclear whether these people will have as much protection against COVID19 as other people who are given a standard two-dose course. To clear the confusion, experts from Mount Sinai have observed 109 healthy participants who either have been fully vaccinated with a two-dose course or have survived the disease in the past and have received only one dose of either mRNA vaccine. In another set of 231 people, experts have matched the level of side effects among people who have survived the disease and those who have been fully vaccinated with two doses of the mRNA vaccine. The study has found that people who have been infected with the virus in the past have often shown a similar or higher antibody response as compared to those who have been given full two doses of the vaccine. As per the study, people who have been infected in the past have shown side effects such as pain in the injection site and fatigue more often after the one dose as compared to uninfected people who have received the first dose of the vaccine. However, the level of side effects has been the same after people without any past infection have received their second shot. Experts have said these side effects are considered a sign, which shows that the immune system of the body is starting to recognize the virus. Therefore, it shows that people who have dealt with past COVID19 infection and have received only one dose of the vaccine are able to produce a similar immune response as others who have been given full two doses of the vaccine.
The lead author of the study, Viviana Simon, who is a professor at the Departments of Microbiology and Medicine at Mount Sinai’s Icahn School of Medicine has said that the findings of the study prove that only one dose of mRNA vaccine is enough for people who have contracted the SARS-CoV-2 virus in the past to get full protection. The director of the National Institutes of Health, Francis Collins as well as supported the results of the study. The study has been funded by the NIH itself. Collins has pointed out that there is a need for further studies to fully validate the findings of this study and to make any official changes in the guidelines from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The new research has not tested another one-shot COVID19 vaccine, which has been developed by Johnson & Johnson. Experts have used a different technology to develop this one-shot vaccine in order to boost immunity against the virus. Experts, who have been involved in the study, have not identified what effect this vaccine will have on COVID19 survivors. If the findings of the new study are validated by top health officials, it will help extend vaccine supply across the country. Some experts have said that somewhere 20 to 30 percent of people in the country have been infected with the virus so far, if new findings speed up the vaccine rollout plan, it going to be a great help. The results of the study have been released in the New England Journal of Medicine.