The 100 healthcare workers—including MBBS doctors, nurses, lab technicians, pharmacists, paramedical staff, and other hospital staff—had taken their first dose of Covishield in January this year and completed the vaccination cycle after the second dose in March. (HT FILE)
The 100 healthcare workers—including MBBS doctors, nurses, lab technicians, pharmacists, paramedical staff, and other hospital staff—had taken their first dose of Covishield in January this year and completed the vaccination cycle after the second dose in March. (HT FILE)

Amritsar GMC to study immune status of 100 vaccinated healthworkers

Doctors say initial findings revealed that 97% healthcare workers became ‘sero’ positive which means that beneficiaries had sufficient amount of antibodies to fight the virus
By Mandeep Kaur Narula, Amritsar
PUBLISHED ON JUN 11, 2021 01:51 AM IST

The Virus Research and Diagnostic Laboratory (VRDL) of Government Medical College (GMC), Amritsar, will study the immune status of 100 healthcare workers vaccinated with Covishield, to check the formation of antibodies against Covid-19 in the beneficiaries.

The 100 healthcare workers—including MBBS doctors, nurses, lab technicians, pharmacists, paramedical staff, and other hospital staff—had taken their first dose of Covishield in January this year and completed the vaccination cycle after the second dose in March.

As per the team of doctors conducting the study, the initial findings revealed that 97% healthcare workers became ‘sero’ positive post their second vaccine dose which means that beneficiaries had sufficient amount of antibodies to fight the virus.

Antibodies are a group of proteins in the human body which help fight infections such as viruses. It typically takes a few weeks after vaccination for the body to produce antibodies against the virus.

“A study has been initiated by a team of expert doctors who aim to check the formation rate of antibodies in people after receiving the Covishield vaccine. For this, a serological test of 100 vaccinated healthcare workers will be done for a year and readings will be noted after which, we will be able to know how the antibodies will behave and how the bodies will react to the virus. The research will also guide us if there is any requirement of booster dose in future,” said Dr KD Singh, microbiologist, who is leading the team of doctors in the research.

Elaborating about the research, he said, “We had checked the antibody levels of 100 healthcare workers before they received their first jab. After 14 days of receiving the first dose, we again checked their anti-body levels and then repeated the same process 14 days after the second dose.”

Dr Singh, who is also the medical superintendent (MS) of Government Medical College and Hospital (GMCH), Amritsar, added, “Now, we will repeat the serological test of the healthcare workers, till March 2022. The purpose of repeated testing is to know the level of antibodies after vaccination. The initial findings revealed that in some cases, antibodies doubled after the second dose, revealing that enough antibodies were developed in the beneficiaries which will help in fighting the virus, effectively.”

It was also found that antibodies had not developed in three out of the 100 vaccinated beneficiaries, which is a minimal number.

“We are also probing into why antibodies did not develop in a few beneficiaries. However, in cases where antibodies level will be recorded ‘low’ in March 2022, the levels of memory cells will be tested. The human body has few special cells, called “memory cells,” that go into action quickly if the body encounters the same virus again. Hence, we will also conduct a ‘cell-mediated immune response’ research to check if the memory cells of the beneficiaries with low antibody levels will be enough to fight the virus. Booster dose will be required for people if memory cells are low,” Dr KD added.

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