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https://www.med.cuhk.edu.hk/press-releases/hkumed-cu-medicine-joint-study-shows-that-vaccinated-individuals-develop-more-robust-and-broadly-reactive-antibody-responses-against-sars-cov-2-variants-than-the-unvaccinated-after-an-omicron-infection
https://www.med.cuhk.edu.hk/press-releases/hkumed-cu-medicine-joint-study-shows-that-vaccinated-individuals-develop-more-robust-and-broadly-reactive-antibody-responses-against-sars-cov-2-variants-than-the-unvaccinated-after-an-omicron-infection

HKUMed-CU Medicine joint study shows that vaccinated individuals develop more robust and broadly reactive antibody responses against SARS-CoV-2 variants than the unvaccinated after an Omicron infection

A recent study jointly conducted by the LKS Faculty of Medicine, The University of Hong Kong (HKUMed) and the Faculty of Medicine, The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CU Medicine) shows that vaccinated individuals can develop more robust and broadly reactive antibody responses against SARS-CoV-2 variants than unvaccinated individuals after an Omicron infection. This highlights the need for COVID-19 vaccination for unvaccinated people even after an SARS-CoV-2 infection. The findings are now published in Eurosurveillance.

 

 

Background

 

Variant of Concern (VOC) Omicron caused the fifth COVID-19 wave in Hong Kong. This virus acquired novel mutations in its spike protein and allowed vaccine breakthrough infection. A research led by Professor Malik Peiris, Tam Wah-Ching Professor in Medical Science and Chair Professor of Virology at the School of Public Health, HKUMed and Professor David Hui Shu-cheong, Stanley Ho Professor of Respiratory Medicine and Chairman of Department of Medicine and Therapeutics, CU Medicine, studied the virus neutralising activity in the blood of vaccinated individuals after an Omicron, BA.1 or BA.2, infection. 

 

 

Research findings

 

The findings show that an Omicron infection in unvaccinated people can only induce very weak antibody responses, which react with Omicron only. In contrast, a breakthrough infection caused by Omicron in fully vaccinated individuals leads to a more potent antibody response, which is six times higher than those of unvaccinated COVID-19 patients. More importantly, such an antibody response found in vaccinated individuals is broadly reactive and it can react with other VOCs, such as Beta and Delta.

 

 

‘Vaccination can help do more other than preventing severe COVID-19 outcomes. Those who had been fully vaccinated with either BNT162b2 or CoronaVac and then got breakthrough infection have very strong and very broad immunity against many variants including BA.2, BA.1 and others. Thus, for vaccinated individuals, the infection can help to train your body to better prepare for a re-infection caused by another SARS-CoV-2 variants in future,’ remarked Professor Peiris.

 

 

‘Do not assume an Omicron infection in unvaccinated individuals alone can induce strong immunity to protect yourself against future variants. Antibody response induced by a natural infection with Omicron in unvaccinated people is weak and not broadly reactive to other VOCs. These patients are highly recommended to get vaccinated after full recovery from infection (at least one month or more after the infection),’ said Professor Hui.

 

 

About the research team

 

The study team included Dr Chris Mok Ka-pun, Miss Chen Chunke, Dr Susanna S Ng, Dr Fanny W Ko, Ms Karen Yiu, and Dr Ken KP Chan at CU Medicine; Dr Bosco Lam Hoi-Shiu at North Lantau Hospital; and Professor Leo Poon Lit-man, Mr Samuel Cheng Mo-sheung, Mr Karl Chan Chak-kai, Mr Leo Luk Long-hei, Mr John Li Ka-chi, Mr Leo Tsang Chi-hang from the School of Public Health, HKUMed.

 

Acknowledgements

 

This research was supported by grants from the Health and Medical Research Fund Commissioned Research on the Novel Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19), Food and Health Bureau, the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region  (COVID1903003; COVID190126) (CKPM, DSH and MP), National Institutes of Health in the United States (contract no. U01-Grant AI151810) (MP), National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC) / Research Grants Council (RGC) Joint Research Scheme (N_HKU737/18) (CKPM and MP), RGC theme-based research schemes (T11-712/19-N and T11-705/21-N) (LLMP, DSH, MP), Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macau Joint Laboratory of Respiratory Infectious Disease (20191205) (CKMP), Emergency Key Program of Guangzhou Laboratory (Grant No. EKPG22-30-6) (CKPM, MP) and the Centre for Immunology & Infection (C2i) (LLMP, MP) administered by Innovation and Technology Commission of Hong Kong and visiting scientist scheme from Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (CKPM).

 

Graphic

Antibody responses from vaccinated (orange) and unvaccinated (green) individuals after an Omicron BA.2 infection. Acute and convalescent (Conval) serum samples from infected individuals were tested for their neutralising activities against the ancestral SARS-CoV-2 (WT) and its VOCs (Beta, Delta, Omicron BA.1 and Omicron BA.2).  Vaccinated and recovered COVID-19 patients are shown to have more robust antibody responses against different SARS-CoV-2 variants. 

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CUHK Conducts Asia's Largest Clinical Study on Life-threatening Infections caused by RSV and Influenza in Hong Kong Adults and Elderly

Research
CUHK Announces Latest Medical Treatment for Minor Stroke

CUHK Announces Latest Medical Treatment for Minor Stroke

Research
The 6th Palliative Care Symposium for Health Care Workers in Chinese Population: ‘Palliative Care for Geriatric Cancer Patients’

The 6th Palliative Care Symposium for Health Care Workers in Chinese Population: ‘Palliative Care for Geriatric Cancer Patients’

Symposium
Hong Kong and Macau Among Top Three Regions in Asia-Pacific with the Highest Incidence of Inflammatory Bowel Disease CUHK Establishes Registry to Increase Public Awareness

Hong Kong and Macau Among Top Three Regions in Asia-Pacific with the Highest Incidence of Inflammatory Bowel Disease CUHK Establishes Registry to Increase Public Awareness

Research
CUHK-HCC Score Accurately Predicts Risk of Liver Cancer in Chronic Hepatitis B Patients Receiving Antiviral Therapy

CUHK-HCC Score Accurately Predicts Risk of Liver Cancer in Chronic Hepatitis B Patients Receiving Antiviral Therapy

Research
CUHK and Shanghai Jiao Tong University Discover Genetic Predictor of Diabetes in Chinese Patients

CUHK and Shanghai Jiao Tong University Discover Genetic Predictor of Diabetes in Chinese Patients

Research
CUHK Pioneers the Use of 3D Echocardiography to Identify At-Risk Mitral Valve Prolapse Patients

CUHK Pioneers the Use of 3D Echocardiography to Identify At-Risk Mitral Valve Prolapse Patients

Research
CUHK will hold 'SARS A Decade On: A Conference for the Health Professionals'

CUHK will hold 'SARS A Decade On: A Conference for the Health Professionals'

Symposium
CUHK Advocates Palliative Care for Advanced Dementia Patients with Swallowing Problems

CUHK Advocates Palliative Care for Advanced Dementia Patients with Swallowing Problems

Research
CUHK Develops an Automatic Retinal Image Analysis System to Help Diabetes Patients and Elderly Prevent Stroke

CUHK Develops an Automatic Retinal Image Analysis System to Help Diabetes Patients and Elderly Prevent Stroke

Research
CUHK Green Pioneer Series CUHK Recommends Hong Kong's New Air Quality Objectives Should Not Ignore Coarse Particulate Pollutants

CUHK Green Pioneer Series CUHK Recommends Hong Kong's New Air Quality Objectives Should Not Ignore Coarse Particulate Pollutants

Research
CUHK Urges Widespread Helmet Use and Protective Measures Against Cycling-related Traumatic Brain Injury

CUHK Urges Widespread Helmet Use and Protective Measures Against Cycling-related Traumatic Brain Injury

Research
CUHK Study Reveals High Salt Intake Will Lead to High Blood Pressure and Higher Risk of Stroke

CUHK Study Reveals High Salt Intake Will Lead to High Blood Pressure and Higher Risk of Stroke

Research
CUHK Launches Territory-wide Sleep Health Education Campaign to Promote Healthy Sleep and Healthy School Life

CUHK Launches Territory-wide Sleep Health Education Campaign to Promote Healthy Sleep and Healthy School Life

Health Campaign
CUHK Advocates Early Detection of Chronic Kidney Diseases Joined by Leading Nephrologists to Make Sound Recommendations

CUHK Advocates Early Detection of Chronic Kidney Diseases Joined by Leading Nephrologists to Make Sound Recommendations

Research
Opening Ceremony of International Conference on Global Health and Public Health Education and Launching of the CUHK Jockey Club Community Primary Care Programme

Opening Ceremony of International Conference on Global Health and Public Health Education and Launching of the CUHK Jockey Club Community Primary Care Programme

Symposium
CUHK Proves the Potent Efficacy of Stenting for Carotid Artery Narrowing and Cardiac Contractility Modulation for Heart Failure

CUHK Proves the Potent Efficacy of Stenting for Carotid Artery Narrowing and Cardiac Contractility Modulation for Heart Failure

Research
Inauguration Ceremony of CCOU Centre for Disaster and Medical Humanitarian Response (CCOUC) Held Today

Inauguration Ceremony of CCOU Centre for Disaster and Medical Humanitarian Response (CCOUC) Held Today

Education
Three CUHK Scholars Named Croucher Senior Research Fellow 2011-12

Three CUHK Scholars Named Croucher Senior Research Fellow 2011-12

Awards and honors
CUHK Green Pioneer Series Findings on Increasing Trend of Primary NO2 Exhaust Emission Fraction in Hong Kong

CUHK Green Pioneer Series Findings on Increasing Trend of Primary NO2 Exhaust Emission Fraction in Hong Kong

Research

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