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Wash U researchers find COVID-19 boosters add protection from future viruses

A research wearing a protective Hazmat suit, including a hood and mask, sits at a table in a laboratory in Washington University in 2022.
Researcher Rita Chen conducts testing and study on COVID-19 in Dr. Michael Diamond’s laboratory in April 2021.

Your immune system has a memory, which can be both a good and bad thing.

When it comes to COVID-19 boosters, scientists at Washington University recently discovered that the body isn’t just "remembering" its previous vaccines – it uses that memory to fight viruses it hasn't met yet.

On this episode of St. Louis on the Air, Dr. Michael Diamond, lead author of a new study in the journal Nature, discussed the workings of vaccine “imprinting” and what his lab’s research can tell us about the future of COVID-19 vaccines and boosters.

Among other findings, that research adds to evidence that boosters not only protect people from the variants existing at the time, but also “ones that we anticipate in the future, that might come with a new pandemic virus if it ever occurred,” said Diamond.

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St. Louis on the Air” brings you the stories of St. Louis and the people who live, work and create in our region. The show is produced by Miya Norfleet, Emily Woodbury, Danny Wicentowski, Elaine Cha and Alex Heuer. Roshae Hemmings is our production assistant. The audio engineer is Aaron Doerr. Send questions and comments about this story to talk@stlpr.org.

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Danny Wicentowski is a producer for "St. Louis on the Air."