June 5, 2021
COVID-19 vaccines work way better than we had ever expected. Scientists are still figuring out why.
Experts say vaccinations are proving to be just as effective in the real world as they were in clinical trials, while remaining highly protective against the more contagious variants spreading worldwide. Two recent studies found that immunity to the virus could last for years. "I was always optimistic," said Deepta Bhattacharya, an immunologist at the University of Arizona. "This was an acute virus; you get it and get over it." Viruses that cause chronic infections, like HIV and herpes, which the body doesn't clear, are much harder to vaccinate against. "Here, instead, we saw there was a natural pathway to immunization we could take advantage of,” Bhattacharya said.