Scientists Find New Way Of Predicting Covid-19 Vaccine Effic
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The early immune response in a person who has been vaccinated for COVID-19 can predict the level of protection they will have to the virus over time, according to analysis from Australian mathematicians, clinicians, and scientists. The researchers have identified an 'immune correlate' of vaccine protection.

This has the potential to dramatically cut development times for new vaccines, by measuring neutralising antibody levels as a 'proxy' for immune protection from COVID-19. They analysed data from seven COVID-19 vaccines to examine how the response measured soon after vaccination correlated with protection. They then used statistical analysis to define the specific relationship between immune response and protection. Their analysis was remarkably accurate and was able to predict the efficacy of a new vaccine.

Antibody immune levels are much easier to measure than directly measuring vaccine efficacy over time. So, by measuring antibody levels across the range of new vaccine candidates during early phases of clinical trials, we can better determine whether a vaccine should be used to prevent COVID-19. Another crucial application of this analysis is its ability to predict immunity over time.

The researchers predict that immunity to COVID-19 from vaccination will wane significantly within a year, with the level of neutralising antibodies in the blood dropping over the first few months following infection or vaccination. The study found that a 6-fold lower level of antibodies is required to protect against severe disease. So even though we will start losing immunity to a mild infection in the first year after vaccination, protection should be long-lived.

A major global challenge is the evolution of the virus and the emergence of new variants. There is a growing concern, based on laboratory studies, that antibodies developed against the dominant strains are less effective at neutralising these new variants. "An added advantage of our work is that allows us to predict how protective an immune response will be against different variants," says the researcher.

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