THE Oxford/AstraZeneca jab gives powerful protection that may last a whole lifetime, a new study has found.
As well as generating virus-busting antibodies, the vaccine also creates “training camps” in the body for search-and-destroy T-cells which can kill even new variants.
It means the body can continue making these vital cells long after the antibodies have waned – as possibly for the rest of your life.
Scientists from Oxford and Switzerland, writing in journal Nature, say T-cell protection is a “key feature” of adenovirus vaccines like the Oxford and J&J jabs.
Researcher Prof Burkhard Ludewig, of Cantonal Hospital in Switzerland, said: "The T-cells that come from these cellular training camps appear to have a very high level of ‘fitness’.
“Adenoviruses have co-evolved with humans over a very long time, and learned a lot about the human immune system in the process.
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“Viruses are always the best teachers, and here they have taught us an important lesson about how best to boost killer T-cell responses.
"Hopefully we can put this to good use in designing new vaccines targeting other diseases like TB, HIV, hepatitis C and cancer."
The researchers found adenoviruses are able to get into long-lived tissue cells, known as fibroblastic reticular cells, which act as “training grounds” for T-cells.
Previous studies have shown the Oxford jab is more effective at generating T-cells than mRNA vaccines like the Pfizer and Moderna ones.
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T-cell levels are difficult to measure, but the new study gives hope that they may last a lifetime.
Prof Paul Klenerman, of Oxford’s Nuffield Department of Medicine, said: “Millions of people have received adenovirus vaccines around the world.
The ultimate goal with these vaccines is the induction of long-term immune system protection using both antibodies and T-cells.
“This research helps us to understand more on the process of vaccination, and why the effects on killer T-cells are so prolonged.”
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