RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – A study from the Francis Crick Institute in the United Kingdom and published as a research letter in “The Lancet” (one of the world’s oldest and best-known general medical journals) has found that the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus (Covid-19) vaccine creates lower antibody protection levels against the Delta variant than the original Wuhan strain.
The study also suggests that those with only one dose are less protected than those with two doses of the vaccine. The study did not consider the question of Pfizer and other laboratories urging people to get third or booster doses of their vaccines.
T cells are immune cells that can focus on targeting specific foreign particles. They are most commonly studied in relation to their ability to fight cancer and infectious diseases, but they are also essential for other aspects of the body’s immune response.
There are two kinds of T cells: killer T cells and helper T cells. Killer T cells directly attack cells that have already been infected by foreign particles. Helper T cells aid other cells to develop killer cells and stimulate other cells to create neutralizing antibodies.
This June 3 study from the Francis Crick Institute focuses on the neutralizing antibodies created by T cells. It analyzes whether the Pfizer vaccine helps the T cells create enough antibodies to fight off the various COVID-19 variants. A subsequent June 28 study by the Crick Institute includes tests of the antibody reaction from the AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccine.
PFIZER VACCINE UNDERPERFORMS AGAINST VARIANTS, PARTICULARLY THE DELTA
The Francis Crick Institute, in collaboration with the British National Institute for Health Research, released a study onJune 3 that showed that the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine produced fewer neutralizing antibodies against COVID-19’s variants.
The scientists analyzed the antibodies from the blood of 250 healthy adults who have received either one or two doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine up to three months after their first dose.
The researchers used a test specially developed by the Francis Crick Institute to figure out the ability of the neutralizing antibodies to prevent the entry of the COVID-19 variants.
It found that only 50 percent of the people who received a single dose of the Pfizer vaccine had a quantifiable neutralizing antibody response against the Alpha variant of COVID-19. This number decreased even further to just 32 percent and 25 percent for the Delta and Beta variants, respectively.
The situation is worse for older individuals who have weaker immune systems. The researchers found that older vaccine recipients generated even fewer antibodies.
No correlation was observed for gender or body mass index. The authors of the June 3 study pursued further studies to check the capabilities of other vaccines, starting with the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, which gave rise to the study published June 28.
“So, the key message from our finding is we found that recipients of the Pfizer vaccine, those who have had two doses, have about five- to six-fold lower amounts of neutralizing antibodies,” said David Bauer, head of the Bauer Lab in the Francis Crick Institute. He continued:
“Now, these are the sort of, gold standard, private security antibodies of your immune system which block the virus from getting into your cells in the first place. So, we’ve found that that is less for people with two doses. We also found that for people with only one dose of the Pfizer jab that they are less likely to have high levels of these antibodies in their blood.”
Instead of recommending that people stay away from the Covid-19 vaccines to protect their natural immune systems, Bauer instead said people should get booster doses of the vaccines. He also said older people should be prioritized in the distribution of booster doses.
Here is the link to the June 3 study.