the coronavirus crisis
While no one who's vaccinated against COVID-19 should seek out a coronavirus infection, there is a "potential silver lining" to breakthrough cases, The Atlantic's Katherine Wu reports.
Whenever the body encounters a pathogen like the coronavirus, it's reminded of the threat. That coaxes "cells into reinvigorating their defenses and sharpening their coronavirus-detecting skills," which prolongs the duration of protection, Wu writes. In other words, a post-inoculation infection can serve, more or less, as a "booster for the vaccine," Laura Su, an immunologist at the University of Pennsylvania, told Wu. Nicole Baumgarth, an immunologist at the University of California, Davis, added that "continuously training immune cells can be a really good thing."
It bears repeating that avoiding infection, even when vaccinated, is much safer and should remain the goal, since natural infections are a lot more unpredictable. But most of those who are protected will likely add to their defenses if they do come into contact with the virus incidentally. Read more at The Atlantic.