Viewpoint: 'Waning' immunity not huge cause for concern

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Despite concerns over the number of antibodies against COVID-19 dwindling after vaccination, there's no reason to worry about so-called "waning immunity," Katherine Wu, PhD, wrote Oct. 20 for The Atlantic

Dr. Wu, who received her PhD in microbiology and immunobiology from Harvard and is a staff writer at The Atlantic, reports that although the number of antibodies declines after vaccination they "replace themselves with new versions that keep improving their ability to bring the virus to heel."

"That’s why I hate the word waning," Jennifer Gommerman, PhD, an immunologist at the University of Toronto, told Dr. Wu. "Antibody levels are declining, but something good is happening too: The immune response is evolving."

Dr. Wu explained several weeks after vaccination, B cells in the body produce antibodies en masse, but not all react to COVID-19. A cycle occurs for at least 12 to 15 weeks after vaccination in which only the strongest antibodies are left. 

"All this means that a slowdown in antibody production could, in a way, be seen as comforting," Dr. Wu wrote. "It’s a sign of an immune system that’s allocating its resources wisely, rather than working itself into a constant panic."

 

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