High COVID-19 viral exposure may reduce protection provided by vaccination and prior infection

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New research led by the University of Florida, Yale University, and the Connecticut Department of Correction reveals that intense COVID-19 viral exposure may diminish the shielding effects of vaccination and previous infection, resulting in “leaky” protection.

The study, published in Nature Communications(opens in new tab), expands our knowledge of how COVID-19 immunity works. The findings suggest that measures like wearing masks, enhancing ventilation, and maintaining social distancing, can improve the effectiveness of vaccines by reducing the intensity of exposure.

“Vaccines should be viewed as one component of a layered strategy to reduce the risk of SARS-CoV-2 infections,” said the study’s co-senior author, Derek Cummings. “Our research suggests that vaccines will work better if you pair them with other strategies to reduce your exposure to SARS-CoV-2.” Cummings, a biology professor and Associate Director for Education and Graduate Programs at UF’s Emerging Pathogens Institute(opens in new tab), is actively involved in theoretical and on-the-ground disease transmission investigations.

This article was originally written by Lauren Barnett for the UF College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. To read the full article, visit the blog.