A Blood Marker for the Vaccinated but Vulnerable?

It’s well-known that that COVID-19 vaccines are not 100% effective. Now, a real-world study from Israel may help identify vaccinated people who are more vulnerable to infection, Nature reports.
The study followed 11,500 Pfizer-vaccinated workers at Israel’s Sheba Medical Center.

Researchers found lower levels of neutralizing antibodies among 39 health workers who became infected with COVID-19 compared to same-age workers who escaped infection, according to the study, published Wednesday in the New England Journal of Medicine

The finding raises hopes for a predictive marker in the blood that could help regulators approve new vaccines without large clinical trials and assess the need for boosters.

Caveats: The pool of infections was small, and the difference in antibody levels between infected and non-infected participants was not statistically significant.
Long-term effects: 19% of the infected workers still had symptoms including brain fog 6 weeks post-diagnosis, USA TODAY notes.

And: The study also challenges assumptions that vaccination reduces viral load, according to Eric Topol, who directs the Scripps Research Translational Institute in California. The current vaccines prevent serious infection deep in the lungs quite well, but not in the upper airways, he said–making the case for a nasal-spray vaccine.

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