CDC Study Suggests Vaccination Offers More Protection Against Covid Than Prior Infection
The findings, published this week in the New England Journal of Medicine, add to a growing body of evidence showing that when it comes to vaccination, there is no true “weakness” in the vaccine when the vaccine is given before an infectious disease begins to spread.
“What this study shows is that every one of us can benefit from vaccination”, says Michael J. Osterholm, M.D., the director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy (CIDRAP) at the University of Minnesota. “If vaccination after an infection is required, we can do that. We can’t totally prevent people from getting infectious diseases after vaccination, but, along with available preventive measures, we can slow the spread and lessen the impact of an infection.”
Hepatitis B virus (HBV) is the fourth most common cause of liver disease, behind hepatitis A and hepatitis C, and approximately 50 percent of HBV cases are acquired through blood transfusions.
Using combined technology in a single patient in San Francisco (Dr. Narayanathaporn Chandran) that had an uncomplicated HBV infection, the research team provided more detailed information on the impact of HBV vaccination on cirrhosis and removal of liver cells due to HBV in a 501-patient cohort. Cirrhosis is a final stage of liver disease in which fat accumulates in the liver, eventually leading to scarring. This scarring slows the body’s immune response to viral infection, making it easier for the body to contract new hepatitis B virus.
The researchers found that after two doses of HBV vaccine, cirrhosis disappeared – with only a slight increase in the likelihood of cholesterol build-up in the liver (0.08 percent) and a slight increase in cirrhosis hospitalizations (0.03 percent). Even with cirrhosis present, in 93.5 percent of cases HBV infection itself did not cause cirrhosis, and cirrhosis was rarer in the infection-free group.
“Even people with cirrhosis have HBV, and this suggests there’s something about the immune response”, says Osterholm. “One way to protect against cirrhosis is to prevent infection.”
The more effective a vaccine is, the more it can prevent from developing cirrhosis, he adds.
Osterholm cautions that this study is just a beginning, and that further studies can help create better vaccines that cover more people, and at less cost.
The immune response to a vaccine helps the body identify some invaders and prevent them from spreading. That immune response can also prevent the body from destroying itself from getting sick from infection. This adaptation – or “adaptation” – gives the body protection from an infection in addition to slowing the spread of infection.
For additional information about hepatitis B, contact Tuan Pham at 202-288-4953 or via email at [email protected] For more information about virology, visit the CDC website.
Read more about the study, “Measles-Coronavirus Types Impact Hepatitis B Hepatitis C” on the NIH Center for Disease Control and Prevention website.
Dr. Narayanathaporn Chandran, M.D., School of Medicine, University of California, San Francisco
Dr. Tuan Pham, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis
Dr. Mike Osterholm, M.D., School of Medicine, University of Minnesota
Subset Type: Hepatitis B (non-Congenital), HBV, Neisseria: Group B (Samylia), Group C (Latonia), Group D (Leprosy), Group E (Schistosomiasis), Mortality (Liman Negatives).
Dr. Mike Osterholm is a recognized expert on infectious diseases with more than 35 years of experience. Dr. Osterholm has received the Congressional Medal of Honor for his work in public health.