Following the American drug control agency FDA and the European medical association EMA, the World Health Organization urged citizens not to pay attention to the level of antibodies, but to get vaccinated without such tests within six months after the illness.
The organization does not recommend the use of antibody tests to make decisions about vaccination, said Melita Vujnovich, WHO official in Russia: “Assessing immunity is challenging and requires different scientific levels and sophisticated laboratories. The presence of certain antibodies in “routine tests” does not indicate whether they are neutralizing antibodies, that is, whether they can stop the virus, therefore WHO does not recommend this type of test. ” However, American and European health authorities do not recommend flattering ourselves with even high levels of neutralizing antibodies (they are considered the main defense against the virus): in any case, they consider vaccination a better solution.
The opinions of our experts on this matter differ. For example, the famous cardiologist and writer Anton Rodionov urges not to bother with taking tests for antibodies before vaccination: “Everyone should be vaccinated: both those who have been ill and those who have antibodies. In the face of unclear antigenic drift of the virus, any additional immune defense may be crucial. There is no point in looking at antibodies. Not after illness, not after vaccination, not at all. There are practically no contraindications to vaccination (so far, formally, the age is <18 years). The rule is simple: the more severe the underlying medical illness, the higher the likelihood of dying from covid, the greater the benefits of vaccination. Pregnant women can too. Vaccination does not guarantee the absence of disease in the future, but reduces its likelihood and reduces the severity of the disease if the disease occurs. "
But the therapist Igor Sokolov, who leads patients with covid on an outpatient basis, approaches this issue more carefully: “Should we control the level of antibodies before and after vaccination? The topic is complex. To be honest, we do not know the duration of protection after illness. But … all official research on vaccines is also limited to this time frame. We do not know the duration of protection against vaccines either. Therefore, if the manufacturers of vaccines speculate to a certain extent about the period of 6-24 months of protection after vaccination, then the same can be said about protection after an illness. In other words, the lack of understanding of the duration of protection after illness is not yet an argument in favor of vaccination for those who have recovered, for which there are no similar data. It seems to me that the most reliable position is still with the European Medical Agency: after an illness, vaccination can be postponed for 6 months. And the question is in the air: maybe more? “
On the other hand, studies show that after some vaccines, the level of antibodies in those who have been ill rises 30-40 times. However, is this good or bad? Do high antibody levels indicate enhanced protection? So far, science has no answer to this question. “Large antibodies are good, but not always. Under certain conditions, it is possible that they can contribute to inflammation in the lung tissue, ”says Igor Sokolov.
Dr. Sokolov recalls that in addition to the antibody (humoral response), there is cellular immunity, even if the antibodies are small or not formed, the person can still be protected.
Photo: ADOBE STOCK