In India, Corona Virus-2 Disease-2019 (COVID-19) continues to this day, although with subdued intensity, following two major waves of viral infection. Despite ongoing vaccination drives to curb the spread of COVID-19, the potential of the administered vaccines to render immune protection to the general population, and how this compares with the immune potential of natural infection remain unclear. In this study we examined correlates of immune protection (humoral and cell mediated) induced by the two vaccines Covishield and Covaxin, in individuals living in and around Kolkata, India. Additionally, we compared the vaccination induced immune response profile with that of natural infection, evaluating thereby if individuals infected during the first wave retained virus specific immunity. Our results indicate that while Covaxin generates better cell-mediated immunity toward the Delta variant of SARS-CoV-2 than Covishield, Covishield is more effective than Covaxin in inducing humoral immunity. Both Covishield and Covaxin, however, are more effective toward the wild type virus than the Delta variant. Moreover, the overall immune response resulting from natural infection in and around Kolkata is not only to a certain degree better than that generated by vaccination, especially in the case of the Delta variant, but cell mediated immunity to SARS-CoV-2 also lasts for at least ten months after the viral infection.
Competing Interest Statement
The authors have declared no competing interest.
This study was funded by CSIR-IICB and Biobharati Life Sciences.
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Internal Review Board of Biobharati Life Sciences reviewed the application pertaining to the study based on ethical guidelines for biomedical research on human subjects and approved the study.
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Paper in collection COVID-19 SARS-CoV-2 preprints from medRxiv and bioRxiv