UCalgary and WHO Researchers Discover The Best Defence Against COVID-19

Credits: JC Gellidon/ Unsplash

A study team from the University of Calgary, including numerous graduates of the Bachelor of Health Sciences, collaborated with experts from the World Health Organization (WHO) to address a worldwide health issue: What is the most effective COVID-19 defence?

Hybrid immunity

Researchers discovered people with hybrid immunity are the most protected against serious sickness and reinfection after analysing data from controlled studies conducted all around the world. When a person has received at least the entire course of vaccinations as well as a preceding infection, in whatever order, hybrid immunity is the result. The study, which was released in The Lancet Infectious Diseases, assists public policy-makers in understanding when immunisations should be administered.

The study’s first author, Dr. Niklas Bobrovitz, DPhil, BHSc’11, MSc’14, said the findings “reinforce the global necessity for vaccination.” Throughout the pandemic, it was frequently questioned whether those who had already contracted the disease should also obtain the vaccine. Our findings unequivocally show that vaccination is necessary, even for those who have had COVID-19.

Recent Omicron infection

Scientists and decision-makers have to reconsider population protection against Omicron infection and severe sickness in light of the Omicron variety of concern’s global emergence and quick dissemination. Researchers were able to examine vaccination, hybrid immunity, and immunological defence against Omicron following a prior infection with the COVID-19-causing SARS-CoV-2 virus.

According to Dr. Lorenzo Subissi, PhD, a technical official with WHO and the study’s principal author, “protection against hospitalisation and severe disease remained above 95% for those with hybrid immunity for 12 months.” “We anticipate the emergence of more varieties.” The study demonstrates that immunisations might be rolled out precisely before anticipated times of greater virus spread, such as the winter season, in order to prevent infection waves.


The results of the systematic review and meta-analysis revealed that protection against Omicron infection significantly deteriorates after 12 months, regardless of whether you have had an infection, a vaccination, or both. As a result, vaccination is the most effective way to periodically increase your protection and control infection rates in the population. In total, 4,268 papers were screened, and 895 of those received full-text reviews, which was a challenging task in the absence of the support of health informatics professionals.

This study proves the effectiveness of machine translation. We were able to overcome language hurdles because most systematic reviews are only conducted in one or two languages, according to Dr. Tyler Williamson, director of the Centre for Health Informatics at the Cumming School of Medicine and BSc’05, PhD’11. These old BHSc classmates, along with the sizable, diversified team they assembled, have become world experts in SARS-CoV-2 research and have disseminated evidence that is of a high enough standard to be used in making decisions.

Although the results show that vaccination and a past infection provide the best protection, the researchers advise against purposeful viral exposure.

The next stage 

COVID-19 should never be attempted to get, advises Bobrovitz. The virus has unknown effects on your system. Some people may die from it or end up in the hospital. Even a minor infection puts you at risk for lengthy COVID.

The next stage of this research, according to the scientists, will look into how well the bivalent vaccine protects against serious illness.

The WHO COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovation are funding the study (CEPI). The opinions expressed may not always represent the official stance of CEPI or WHO.

SeroTracker dashboard

The study’s results add to the information on the SeroTracker dashboard, which tracks seroprevalence data—the proportion of people in a population who have antibodies against the novel coronavirus. Users can compare seroprevalence rates between nations, occupations, and demographic categories using built-in filters on the website, which compiles serology data from research and news sources in various populations.

Other contributors to the paper are Harriet Ware, Xiaomeng Ma, Zihan Li, Reza Hosseini, Christian Cao, Anabel Selemon, Mairead Whelan, Zahra Premji, Hanane Issa, Brianna Cheng, Laith J. Abu Raddad, David Buckeridge, Maria Van Kerkhove, Vanessa Piechotta, Melissa Higdon, Annelies Wilder-Smith, Isabel Bergeri, Daniel Feikin, Rahul Arora and Minal Patel representing universities and institutions in the U.S., United Kingdom, Qatar, Switzerland Germany, and Canada.


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Source: University of Calgary