The doctors from hospitals across Massachusetts noted their findings in a letter to the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM). The letter, originally published in late June, showed that individuals injected with the COVID-19 vaccine and subsequently catch the disease remain infectious for a longer duration.
The doctors examined 66 study participants who contracted COVID-19 between July 2021 and January 2022. Of this total, 32 were infected with the B16172 delta variant, while 34 were infected with the milder B11529 omicron variant. Only one participant manifested symptoms of COVID-19 infection, the letter stated. (Related: BOMBSHELL: Could OMICRON be the CURE for covid? Highly infectious strain with “mild” symptoms could deliver worldwide natural immunity and make vaccines obsolete.)
Using both polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests and viral cultures, the researchers compiled several charts outlining how long infected people remained contagious with SARS-CoV-2. They separated their findings based on vaccination status – unvaccinated, vaccinated and boosted.
They found that 68.75 percent of unvaccinated people were no longer contagious after the first 10 days of infection, based on PCR tests. In contrast, only 38.46 percent of boosted people and 29.72 percent of vaccinated people were no longer contagious after that duration.
Furthermore, 93.75 percent of unvaccinated participants and 92.31 percent of boosted people were no longer contagious after 15 days. Meanwhile, just 78.38 percent of vaccinated people were no longer contagious after that period.
“We did not find large differences in the median duration of viral shedding among participants who were unvaccinated; those who were vaccinated, but not boosted; and those who were vaccinated and boosted,” the researchers wrote in their letter to the NEJM.
“Our data suggests that some persons who are infected with the omicron and delta SARS-CoV-2 variants shed culturable virus more than five days after symptom onset or an initial positive test.”
Natural immunity still effective against severe COVID after 14 months
A pre-print study in the Middle East also proved the superiority of natural immunity to vaccine immunity. Researchers in Qatar found that natural immunity remains 97 percent effective against COVID-19, even 14 months after primary infection.
In a pre-print study posted July 7 in medRxiv, the researchers from Qatar University found that unvaccinated people who survive a bout of COVID-19 had outstanding protection against severe COVID-19 disease or death caused by it.
The study authors looked at three earlier papers scrutinizing the Middle Eastern country’s unvaccinated population between February 2020 and June 2022. The July 7 paper sought to answer questions about the duration of natural immunity when faced with omicron and earlier strains.
“Effectiveness of primary infection against severe, critical or fatal COVID-19 reinfection was 97.3 percent, irrespective of the variant of primary infection or reinfection, and with no evidence of waning. Similar results were found in sub-group analyses for those [less than] 50 years of age,” they wrote.
“Despite waning protection against reinfection, strikingly, there was no evidence for the waning of protection against severe COVID-19 at reinfection. This remained [at around] 100 percent, even 14 months after the primary infection, with no appreciable effect for omicron immune evasion in reducing it.”
Before the emergence of omicron in late November 2021, natural immunity against COVID-19 dropped to only 70 percent after 16 months – which the study authors attributed to a “genuine waning in biological immunity.”
While much more infectious than earlier strains, omicron caused milder symptoms in infected individuals. The BA4 and BA5 sub-variants of omicron are now the most dominant strain of SARS-CoV-2.
“Vaccine immunity may last for only a year, but natural immunity may last for three years,” the study authors stated.
Watch this Fox News report about natural immunity against COVID-19 being more effective against reinfection.
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