How much protection a COVID-19 vaccine offers? Most of us have asked ourselves this question. Dr. Anthony Fauci offers the answers. During his briefing at the White House, Fauci brought evidence for a reliable way to predict the power of the vaccine.
He explained that the vaccines offer enough neutralizing antibodies to combat the virus as well as other variants. The study shows the link between antibodies and vaccine efficacy. The higher the levels of these antibodies are, the more effective the vaccine is. A booster vaccine can prepare our immune system against COVID-19 and some of its variants.
Finding these markers correlate with immune protection helps scientists understand the COVID-19 vaccine better. However, further studies are required to confirm the findings. For now, experts will discover if a new COVID-19 vaccine works without repeating large-scale efficacy studies.
“That could be used as the basis for authorization and approval of vaccine candidates without needing to do these trials with 40,000 people that take a long time and a lot of expense to complete,” says Peter Gilbert a biostatistician with the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, the lead author on the new study.
According to the previous studies done on 30,000 vaccinated volunteers, only 46 got sick with the virus. However, after further research, experts found that people who got sick had a lower level of antibodies.
“[The antibody levels] were always lower in the vaccinated people who became a COVID case compared to people who remained free of COVID,” Gilbert says.
If further studies succeed, vaccine makers won’t need to test their products on large scales. Therefore vaccines will be made faster, and people will receive protection promptly.
“Science is not simple,” says Holly Janes, a biostatistician at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center who worked on designing the antibody study. “It’s not clean and tidy. Looking at things in different ways, in different types of studies, different types of analyses and different data sources is important, and that’s how we get at the truth. There’s hardly ever one study that tells us everything we need to know.”