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COVID infection before or after vaccination creates ‘super immunity,’ researchers say

Does super immunity to COVID-19 exist?

SHARE COVID infection before or after vaccination creates ‘super immunity,’ researchers say
Miracle Wright helps check in Courtney Hutchings and her children, Theodore, Athena and Rosie for COVID-19 testing at Herriman City Hall.

People wait in line for COVID-19 tests at City Hall in Herriman on Thursday, Jan. 6, 2022.

Spenser Heaps, Deseret News

A new study suggests that getting infected by the novel coronavirus before or after COVID-19 vaccination can create so-called “super immunity” from COVID-19 — although experts don’t want you trying to deliberately catch the coronavirus.

The news: Researchers at the Oregon Health & Science University found that getting a vaccine shot after recovering from coronavirus provides protection similar to getting COVID-19 after vaccination, which has been noted to create “super immunity.”

  • In both scenarios, antibodies were 10 times or more as strong as antibodies in those who were vaccinated but never caught COVID-19.

Flashback: The Oregon Health & Science University previously published a study for the Journal of the American Medical Association that found breakthrough infections from the delta variant created “a robust immune response against the delta variant” — or “super immunity.”

  • Researchers said these findings suggest that “the immune response is likely to be highly effective against other variants as the SARS-CoV-2 virus continues to mutate.”

Why it matters: People who have this so-called “super immunity” are better protected from COVID-19 infection and severe symptoms, the researchers said.

What they’re saying: “These results, together with our previous work, point to a time when SARS-CoV-2 may become a mostly mild endemic infection like a seasonal respiratory tract infection, instead of a worldwide pandemic,” said study co-author Marcel Curlin, per The Oregonian.

Yes, but: Senior co-author Fikadu Tafesse told The Oregonian this is not a reason for people to intentionally catch COVID-19, saying there are long-term consequences to a COVID-19 infection that aren’t worth it.