Immune protection from COVID-19 infection either through natural infection or vaccination wanes with time as neutralisation levels decline, a new study has revealed.
It has, thus, recommended booster vaccines within a year after full vaccination.
The study entitled: “Neutralising antibody levels are highly predictive of immune protection from symptomatic SARS-CoV-2 infection”, published 17 May, 2021 by Nature Medicine, revealed that immunity to SARS-CoV-2 induced either through natural infection or vaccination has been shown to afford a degree of protection against reinfection and/or reduce the risk of clinically significant outcomes.
However, the study also predicts that immune protection from COVID-19 infection wanes with time as neutralisation levels decline, and that booster immunisation may be required within a year.
The study provides an evidence-based model of SARS-CoV-2 immune protection that will assist in developing vaccine strategies to control the future trajectory of the pandemic.
This is a wake up call for Nigerian scientists to look inwards and use local resources to produce local COVID-19 vaccines that can provide maximum protection against the virus, said stakeholders who spoke with LEADERSHIP.
A research scientist with the National Institute for Pharmaceutical Research and Development (NIPRD), Abuja, Nigeria, Prof. Martins Emeje said the only way out of the pandemic is through indigenous research and development.
COVID-19 treatment is in Nigeria, says Emeje, adding that “the treatment is in the food and vegetables we consume.
“That is why the virus is not killing us as much as it is killing others in the western world. It is not coincidental that we are recording few death cases. All we need to do is to carry out research on what is fortifying us against the virus. We can then develop our own unique treatment or vaccine for the virus. This can only happen with research and development,” he said.
While applauding the federal government through the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) for investing in research and development in Nigeria, the professor, however, pleaded that more funds should be invested in that direction if the country is to win the war against the COVID-19 pandemic.
In the same vein, a professor of virology and former vice chancellor of Redeemer’s University, Prof. Oyewale Tomori, told LEADERSHIP that the study is a wakeup call for Nigerian scientists to start thinking of fast- tracking local production of COVID-19 vaccine.
Tomori said the country has great scientists who are capable of developing a viable vaccine, but the government would need to improve funding.
“We know the government is fully involved in terms of funding, but more resources are needed to fast-track the process,” he said.