Sunday, January 16

How can I know that the vaccine they have given me has generated antibodies? | The scientists respond


A health worker injected this Thursday in Bilbao a second dose of the Pfizer Biontech vaccine to a woman between 55 and 60 years old.
A health worker injected this Thursday in Bilbao a second dose of the Pfizer Biontech vaccine to a woman between 55 and 60 years old.Miguel Toña / EFE

There is no reason to think that a vaccine does not generate antibodies because scientific evidence tells us that all vaccinated people are protected. We know that covid vaccines are not 100% efficient because their efficiency is around 95-97%, but that does not mean that there is vaccine failure in any of the ones that are being used. We call vaccine failure the fact that an organism does not develop the antibodies that the vaccine should cause. In the case of the vaccines that we are using against covid, this has not been seen to happen.

To know that a vaccine has worked as it should, the immune response must be looked at. This response can be antibody or cellular. The cellular response is more complex to observe, but currently there are many types of tests to find out if you have antibodies against protein S, which is the one used by the vaccines that are being administered to us now. So to know if the vaccine that has been administered has generated antibodies in your body, you only have to do a rapid test for antibodies against protein S. Even if the test told you that the level of antibodies is low, nothing would happen because it will probably also have a cellular response. Checking the cellular response is a much more complex process that requires a specialized laboratory.

Perhaps the best information to answer the question is that provided by the hundreds of clinical trials that have already been carried out with hundreds of thousands of people and whose results show that there is no vaccine failure. A very high efficiency has been detected, although as I said before, not 100%. But there is nothing that makes us suspect that it will not have a response similar to that of the hundreds of thousands of people in whom it has already been tested and in whom it has generated antibodies.

With the current data from countries in which vaccination is advancing rapidly, the United States, the United Kingdom and also in the rest of the countries of Europe, such as Spain, we are seeing that income from covid and, above all, mortality decrease

The current vaccine does not protect against infection, but rather prevents disease. The fact that its effectiveness is between 95% and 97% means that of a hundred vaccinated people who become infected with the virus, between 95 and 97 of them pass the disease asymptomatically, they do not find out, and the rest, those three, four or five other people do have the disease.

The most important thing to keep in mind when asking ourselves about the efficacy of vaccines is the scientific data that we currently have. Right now we have millions of people vaccinated. For example, Israel is the perfect mirror when it comes to vaccination. There the immunization process has been very fast and much has been studied. What has been seen is that with the millions of people who have been vaccinated, not only are they protected, but even among the people of the Orthodox communities who have not been vaccinated, as other Israelis around them are, there have been there has been much less incidence of covid. That is, a certain group immunity has been produced that has also protected the unvaccinated.

With the current data from countries in which vaccination is advancing rapidly, the United States, the United Kingdom and also in the rest of the countries of Europe, such as Spain, we are seeing that income from covid and, above all, mortality decrease. In other words, at the population level, the more vaccinated, the less disease and less mortality. These data are a good indicator that there are no major vaccine failures at the population level.

Maria Montoya She is head of the Viral Immunology group at the Margarita Salas Biological Research Center (CSIC) and is part of the board of directors of the Spanish Immunology Society, she investigates SARS-CoV-2.

Question sent via email by Luis Angel Elizondo

Coordination and writing: Victoria Toro

We respond is a weekly scientific clinic, sponsored by the Dr. Foundation Antoni Esteve and the program L’Oréal-Unesco ‘For Women in Science’, that answers the doubts of the readers about science and technology. They are scientists and technologists, partners of AMIT (Association of Women Researchers and Technologists), those that answer those doubts. Send your questions to [email protected] or on Twitter #nosotrasrespondemos.

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