Bivalent Vaccines Protected Kids, Even if They Had Been Infected Already

A new study finds moderate protection from the bivalent booster in kids.

F. Perry Wilson, MD MSCE

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It was only four years ago when we called the pathogen we now refer to as “the coronavirus” nCOV-19. It was, in many ways, more descriptive than what we have today. The little “n” there stood for “novel” — and it was really that little “n” that caused us all the trouble.

You see, coronaviruses themselves were not really new to us. Understudied, perhaps, but, with four strains running around the globe at any time giving rise to the common cold, these were viruses our bodies understood.

But the coronavirus discovered in 2019 was novel, not just to the world, but to our own immune systems as well. Different enough from its circulating relatives that our immune memory cells failed to recognize it. Instead of acting like a cold, it acted like, well, at the time, like nothing we had seen before. At least in our lifetimes. The story of the pandemic is very much a bildungsroman of our immune systems — a story of how our immunity grew up.

The difference between the start of 2020 and now — where infections with the coronavirus remain common but not as deadly — can be measured in terms of immune education. Some of our immune systems were…

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F. Perry Wilson, MD MSCE

Medicine, science, statistics. Associate Professor of Medicine and Public Health at Yale. New book “How Medicine Works and When it Doesn’t” available now.