Combination of COVID-19 and vaccine antibodies may create 'hybrid immunity'

By , KCBS Radio

Scientists are looking into the combination of COVID-19 antibodies with the antibodies from the vaccine and if they can create "hybrid immunity."

Dr. Anita Gupta, adjunct assistant professor of anesthesiology and critical care medicine at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine told KCBS Radio that hybrid immunity is about how the antibodies respond and is different for everyone based on when they got infected and when they got vaccinated.

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"We are trying to understand the mechanism behind hybrid immunity, and once we do this could be a key, a really important key to understanding how individuals can obtain this kind of quote-on-quote super immunity," Dr. Gupta said.

Researchers are looking at if those who have been infected and vaccinated can achieve hybrid immunity by testing, the antibodies to see if they can boost memory B cells and protect your immune system from new variants of the virus.

"Natural infection triggers antibodies and that can actually grow over time, but when you actually elicit a vaccination that actually creates another set of antibody response. So, when we combine that together that is really what creates that hybrid immunity," she explained.

Scientists are trying to figure out if the combination is "protective and potent" enough for new variants that may emerge in the next couple of months. However, people can still get re-infected by the virus and Dr. Gupta said there are groups that are more vulnerable and those people need protection.

"We need to understand that these are the most vulnerable people in the community, the children under 5 and that’s why the issue of wearing masks is so serious," she said.

Dr. Gupta added that it is not about protecting ourselves it's about protecting others, especially those who are more vulnerable and susceptible to getting sick.

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