Dr Miriam Stoppard writes: “We are used to booster injections – now Israel has seen a 5-fold increase in antibody levels in 154 healthy hospital workers after 4 injections.
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We are used to the idea of having a strengthen jab to raise the level of Covid antibodies, which can be reduced after two doses of the vaccine.
But should we think more? A fourth stab, for everyone?
Well, Israel has had it on a small scale, with a study of 154 healthy hospital workers finding a 5-fold increase in antibody levels.
Their vaccine advisory board is currently recommending a fourth dose for people over 18, who will be eligible five months after their third dose.
The German vaccine commission has also recommended a fourth dose for people over 70 and at-risk groups.
But as an editorial in British Medical Journal said the fourth booster probably won’t be of use to the general population.
They will be reserved for people with weakened immune systems who do not produce antibodies after two or even three stabs.
Previous research found that four out of 10 clinically vulnerable people produced lower antibody levels after two doses of the Covid-19 vaccine.
Further studies are looking at the effects of three doses.
Michelle Willicombe, the lead researcher on these Octave studies, said data from Imperial College London and from the US and France showed that about half of patients who did not have an antibody response after two doses had a reaction. response after three doses.
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“Some immunocompromised patients did not have any response or inadequate response compared with healthy controls after three doses, so they needed four doses to even be detectable,” says Michelle. get anything,” Michelle said.
“Giving immunocompromised patients four doses is a very different fish than the general population, where you’re just boosting the immune response.”
The Joint Committee on Immunization and Immunization (JCVI) is awaiting more data before deciding to make it available for the fourth time to the broader community.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has also not recommended a fourth dose for the public there.
There are no UK data on response to a fourth dose yet, but Michelle and a team at Imperial University are leading research to assess whether a lack of antibody response correlates with later risk of Covid infection. and its severity.
She says the data from Israel is not surprising – that the fourth dose boosted antibodies in healthy people.
The big question is whether it happens similarly in immunocompromised people.
Data from the UK Health Security Agency on the number of people admitted to hospital after Omicron infection and the effectiveness of the vaccine showed 72% protection after two doses for up to six months, rising to 88% in within two weeks of the booster injection.
And if someone doesn’t respond to the fourth stab, we always have antibody treatments in our arsenal.
https://www.mirror.co.uk/lifestyle/health/study-suggests-four-could-magic-26282399 'Research shows four could be the magic number for our Covid vaccinations' - Miriam Stoppard