Kochi (Kerala) [India], February 10 (ANI): Hybrid immunity is effective in preventing the spread of the Omicron variant of the COVID-19 virus, reveals the study conducted by Dr Padmanabha Shenoy, a rheumatologist and medical director at CARE Hospital in Kochi.
Speaking to ANI, Dr Shenoy said that hybrid immunity has better efficacy against the spread of Omicron than two doses of COVID-19 vaccines. "This is precisely the reason why India is seeing much less number of fatalities during the third wave. When the US is reporting 3,500 deaths per day, our country is hardly reporting 300-350. It is lesser than 10 per cent of what was expected. The predominant reason behind this is hybrid immunity," he stated.
"For last one and half years, we have been monitoring around 2000 patients in Kochi who were either vaccinated or infected or the ones who were vaccinated after recovering from the infection. When somebody gets vaccinated after recovering from the infection, they develop hybrid immunity against the infection."
"Our data showed that the patients who have hybrid immunity generated an immune response 30 times greater than that generated by two doses of vaccine. Meaning, if somebody gets an infection, and then gets a single dose of vaccine, they get an antibody titer to the tune of 10,000 or 12,000. But when somebody gets only two doses of vaccine and no infection, their antibody titer is around 4,000," he said.
Dr Shenoy further said that the study indicates that vaccines generate a much higher immune response in those who have previously been infected. This immunity is called a hybrid community. "We extended our study to understand the nature of this hybrid immunity and whether it is able to neutralise Omicron. This is the first time someone in the country has done this," he stated.
"We selected a few people who have got a single dose of Covishield vaccine following an infection earlier and tested their ability to neutralise the Omicron variant. We also selected some control patients, that is, the people who have got two doses of Covishield or Covaxin but have never been infected by the coronavirus. The results showed that 65 per cent of the patients in the first category, that is, the ones with hybrid immunity, could neutralise Omicron variant while none of the patients with two doses of vaccines could do that," he added.
Dr Shenoy stated that this clearly indicates hybrid immunity has much better efficacy than two doses of vaccines and is precisely the reason why India is seeing a much less number of deaths during the third COVID wave led by the Omicron variant.
"Our current data is with Covishield. But in the coming weeks, we will conduct this study on patients who have got two doses of Covaxin and those who were vaccinated with Covaxin after recovering from the infection. Also, we are extending this study to an additional dose, that is on people who got fully vaccinated after recovering from the infection. We will see whether it is boosting immunity further," he added. (ANI)