Antibodies that fight COVID-19 become stronger and smarter to tackle the novel coronavirus for at least six months after vaccination, according to a new study by researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.

What they found: The researchers tracked the maturation of antibodies in people who received the COVID-19 vaccine.

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Why this matters: “Producing vast quantities of antibodies burns a lot of energy. The immune system cannot sustain such a high level of activity indefinitely, so it gradually switches to producing smaller amounts of more powerful antibodies,” the press release said.

What they’re saying: “If the virus didn’t change, most people who got two doses of this vaccine would be in very good shape,” said senior author Ali Ellebedy, an associate professor of pathology and immunology, of medicine and of molecular microbiology, in a press release.

Yes, but: Though the antibodies become stronger, the vaccine’s effectiveness appears to wane over time, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.

  • Specifically, the COVID-19 vaccine booster shot — though effective against the coronavirus — often stops working as well four months down the line.
  • The study found that booster shot’s effectiveness against COVID-19 emergency room visits and hospitalizations were 87% and 91%, respectively, during the two months after a third dose, as I reported for the Deseret News.