A number of new studies suggest that a COVID-19 booster shot can provide protection against future variants for many months, yes, years, That New York Times reports. One recently examination published on bioRxiv, for example, suggests that a third Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna shot helps produce antibodies that could be effective against as yet unseen mutations – even though the vaccines “were not specifically designed to protect against variants.” “If people are exposed to another variant like Omicron, they now have some extra ammunition to fight it,” Dr. Julie McElrath, an infection doctor in Seattle, to Times.
The new findings are similar to those found in the wake of the SARS epidemic that swept across Asia in 2003; a study found that people exposed to SARS at that time were still producing T cells – specialized immune cells – 17 years later. “Memory reactions can last forever,” said Wendy Burgers, an immunologist at the University of Cape Town. Times. “Potentially, the T cell response is extremely long lasting.”