Immunity requires much more than antibodies.
During the covid-19 pandemic, news services were telling us that our antibody levels had to be high to prevent infection from the virus. We were also told that we needed a booster to maintain antibodies to protect ourselves.
Then, we were told that we needed to be vaccinated or else we couldn’t see a Broadway play, or get on an airplane. Then those who were vaccinated were getting covid-19 anyway. Then came the variants and anyone who did not have the virus yet was getting it but the data showed those who were vaccinated had an easier time recovering from the virus and were less likely to be hospitalized. Then there were the inconvenient facts about the virus and insulin resistance and obesity as well as vitamin D deficiency which were major risk factors for anyone who had the virus. Then there was masking that initially may have helped reduce the number of infections but long-term was inhibiting the immune system from doing its job.
Whew, that is a lot to take in. What have we learned? Natural immunity may ultimately be how we as a society get back to normal. Vaccines may help some and masking may be a short-term solution to help keep a pandemic in check but may have the same effect as too much purell; long term you are likely to get more ill by depending on it.
We also learned that immunity is long-term, especially natural immunity and now scientists are looking beyond antibodies to understand immunity in children according to the NY Times. There is a fluidity to genetics that is passed from generation to generation, likely courtesy of viruses.
Check out this fascinating article from the NY Times
A Better Way to Measure Immunity in Children
Some scientists believe that a clearer picture of Covid vaccine efficacy could have emerged sooner if investigators had tracked certain immune cells, not just antibodies.
By Apoorva Mandavilli June 17, 2022
She has watched friends roll their eyes when she asked to meet them outdoors. She has tried unsuccessfully to convince her sister to vaccinate her son. She was told by strangers on Twitter that putting her daughter in a mask was tantamount to child abuse.
And yet the vaccines for the youngest Americans faced delay after delay. “It was very disappointing, month after month, seeing everything get pushed,” said Ms. Almeida, 33, who lives in Franklin, Tenn.