Natural Immunity Is ‘Infinitely Better’ Than Vaccine Immunity
According to McCullough, “natural immunity is infinitely better than vaccine immunity,” and studies have borne that out time and again. The reason natural immunity is superior to vaccine-induced immunity is because viruses contain five different proteins.
The COVID shot induces antibodies against just one of those proteins, the spike protein, and no T cell immunity. When you’re infected with the whole virus, you develop antibodies against all parts of the virus, plus memory T cells.
This also means natural immunity offers better protection against variants, as it recognizes several parts of the virus. If there are significant alternations to the spike protein, as with the Delta variant, vaccine-induced immunity can be evaded. Not so with natural immunity, as the other proteins are still recognized and attacked.
Here’s a sampling of scholarly publications that have investigated natural immunity as it pertains to SARS-CoV-2 infection. There are several more in addition to these:12
|Science Immunology October 202013 found that “RBD-targeted antibodies are excellent markers of previous and recent infection, that differential isotype measurements can help distinguish between recent and older infections, and that IgG responses persist over the first few months after infection and are highly correlated with neutralizing antibodies.”|
|The BMJ January 202114 concluded that “Of 11, 000 health care workers who had proved evidence of infection during the first wave of the pandemic in the U.K. between March and April 2020, none had symptomatic reinfection in the second wave of the virus between October and November 2020.”|
|Science February 202115 reported that “Substantial immune memory is generated after COVID-19, involving all four major types of immune memory [antibodies, memory B cells, memory CD8+ T cells, and memory CD4+ T cells]. About 95% of subjects retained immune memory at ~6 months after infection. Circulating antibody titers were not predictive of T cell memory. Thus, simple serological tests for SARS-CoV-2 antibodies do not reflect the richness and durability of immune memory to SARS-CoV-2.” A 2,800-person study found no symptomatic reinfections over a ~118-day window, and a 1,246-person study observed no symptomatic reinfections over 6 months.|
|A February 2021 study posted on the prepublication server medRxiv16 concluded that “Natural infection appears to elicit strong protection against reinfection with an efficacy ~95% for at least seven months.”|
|An April 2021 study posted on medRxiv17 reported “the overall estimated level of protection from prior SARS-CoV-2 infection for documented infection is 94.8%; hospitalization 94.1%; and severe illness 96·4%. Our results question the need to vaccinate previously-infected individuals.”|
|Another April 2021 study posted on the preprint server BioRxiv18 concluded that “following a typical case of mild COVID-19, SARS-CoV-2-specific CD8+ T cells not only persist but continuously differentiate in a coordinated fashion well into convalescence, into a state characteristic of long-lived, self-renewing memory.”|
|A May 2020 report in the journal Immunity19 confirmed that SARS-CoV-2-specific neutralizing antibodies are detected in COVID-19 convalescent subjects, as well as cellular immune responses. Here, they found that neutralizing antibody titers do correlate with the number of virus-specific T cells.|
|A May 2021 Nature article20 found SARS-CoV-2 infection induces long-lived bone marrow plasma cells, which are a crucial source of protective antibodies. Even after mild infection, anti-SARS-CoV-2 spike protein antibodies were detectable beyond 11 months’ post-infection.|
|A May 2021 study in E Clinical Medicine21 found “antibody detection is possible for almost a year post-natural infection of COVID-19.” According to the authors, “Based on current evidence, we hypothesize that antibodies to both S and N-proteins after natural infection may persist for longer than previously thought, thereby providing evidence of sustainability that may influence post-pandemic planning.”|
|Cure-Hub data22 confirm that while COVID shots can generate higher antibody levels than natural infection, this does not mean vaccine-induced immunity is more protective. Importantly, natural immunity confers much wider protection as your body recognizes all five proteins of the virus and not just one. With the COVID shot, your body only recognizes one of these proteins, the spike protein.|
|A June 2021 Nature article23 points out that “Wang et al. show that, between six and 12 months after infection, the concentration of neutralizing antibodies remains unchanged. That the acute immune reaction extends even beyond six months is suggested by the authors’ analysis of SARS-CoV-2-specific memory B cells in the blood of the convalescent individuals over the course of the year. These memory B cells continuously enhance the reactivity of their SARS-CoV-2-specific antibodies through a process known as somatic hypermutation. The good news is that the evidence thus far predicts that infection with SARS-CoV-2 induces long-term immunity in most individuals.”|
Reinfection Is Very Rare
McCullough stresses there is also no need to worry about reinfection if you’ve already had COVID once. The fact is, while breakthrough cases continue among those who have gotten one or more COVID-19 injections, it’s extremely rare to get COVID-19 after you’ve recovered from the infection.
How rare? Researchers from Ireland conducted a systematic review including 615,777 people who had recovered from COVID-19, with a maximum duration of follow-up of more than 10 months.24
“Reinfection was an uncommon event,” they noted, “with no study reporting an increase in the risk of reinfection over time.” The absolute reinfection rate ranged from 0% to 1.1%, while the median reinfection rate was just 0.27%.25,26,27
Another study revealed similarly reassuring results. It followed 43,044 SARS-CoV-2 antibody-positive people for up to 35 weeks, and only 0.7% were reinfected. When genome sequencing was applied to estimate population-level risk of reinfection, the risk was estimated at 0.1%.28
There was no indication of waning immunity over seven months of follow-up, unlike with the COVID-19 injection, which led the researchers to conclude that “Reinfection is rare. Natural infection appears to elicit strong protection against reinfection with an efficacy >90% for at least seven months.”29
“It’s a one-and-done,” McCullough says. If you’ve had it once, you won’t get it again. He also advises against using PCR testing after you’ve had confirmed COVID-19 once, as any subsequent positive tests are just going to be false positives.
12Reddit COVID-19 and Immunity13Science Immunology October 8, 2020; 5(52): eabe036714BMJ 2021;372:n9915Science February 5, 2021; 371(6529): eabf406316medrxiv February 8, 2021 DOI: 10.1101/2021.01.15.2124973117medRxiv April 24, 2021 (PDF)18BioRxiv April 29, 2021 DOI: 10.1101/2021.04.28.44188019Immunity June 16, 2020; 52(6): 971-977.E320Nature 2021; 595: 421-42521E Clinical Medicine 2021; 36: 100902 (PDF)22Cure-hub June 11, 202123Nature June 14, 202124,25Rev Med Virol. 2021;e226026The Blaze July 14, 202127News Rescue July 15, 202128,29medRxiv January 15, 2021