First data from Israel give hope: In various studies it is becoming apparent that people vaccinated with the Biontech and Astra-Zeneca vaccines are rarely infected and hardly pass the virus on.
Israel is currently the world’s test laboratory when it comes to vaccinations. Nowhere else is vaccinated so quickly. The results are meticulously recorded and scientifically evaluated. Therefore, new data from the Israeli Ministry of Health caused a stir. According to the Reuters news agency, the vaccine from Biontech and Pfizer was able to reduce the infection rate among vaccinated people by around 90 percent on average. In cases with symptoms of the disease, the effect was even better and was just under 94 percent.
Herd immunity is within reach
It has long been clear that the vaccination provides excellent protection against Covid-19. However, it is now becoming apparent that the vaccination may start much earlier and not only prevent the disease, but also most infections. That the viruses do not spread in the body in the first place.
If this is confirmed, we can all pop the champagne corks. Because then the pandemic could be brought under control much faster. If vaccinated people are hardly infected, they can no longer pass the virus on. The goal of herd immunity is therefore within reach. Provided, of course, that enough people get vaccinated.
An Israeli news site first publicized the promising results, and so far there has not even been a publication on a scientific pre-print server. Neither Pfizer nor the Israeli Ministry of Health wanted to comment on the spectacular result. So the numbers are by no means reliable.
Low viral load after vaccination
What is interesting is the very positive trend that they are showing. This coincides with other encouraging results from Israel. A large health insurance company with its own test laboratory has put the viral load of SarsCov2 infected people under the microscope in PCR tests. Among them were also vaccinated. It is clear that vaccination does not offer one hundred percent protection against infection. Occasionally vaccinated people also become infected. However, it was unclear how the vaccination would affect the amount of virus in such cases.
A still unpublished study by Maccabi Healthcare now shows: Those who were infected twelve to 28 days after the first Biontech syringe had significantly less virus in their nose and throat than those who had not been vaccinated. Only a quarter of the usual amount of virus. The virologist Christian Drosten assumes that the measured virus concentrations are most likely no longer infectious.
Another Israeli pre-print study also measured significantly reduced virus levels in vaccinated people. Interestingly, both studies were carried out at a time when the British virus mutant was already dominating in Israel – the positive results should therefore also apply to this virus form. This fits in with the latest interim results from Oxford University.
The researchers recently presented interim results on the Astra Zeneca vaccine as a pre-print. Anyone in England who became infected with corona after two doses of Astra Zeneca was positive in the PCR test for a much shorter time than usual – a whole week less. And none of the vaccinated people found that much virus in the sample. That is the second important finding.
We still have to wait and see if the details of all these studies will change when they are published. But the thrust seems clear. People who have been vaccinated are probably much less contagious. How much less exactly will be shown in the near future.