What is active vaccination
There are some illnesses that a person can become immune to having the disease. For example, in case of chickenpox or measles, the immune system of the person creates antibodies to fight the disease. This process of gaining immunity against a certain disease where the immune system creates antibodies is called active vaccination.
In other words, active immunity results when a person’s immune system works to produce antibodies and activate other immune cells to certain pathogens. If the person encounters that pathogen again, long-lasting immune cells specific to it will already be primed to fight it.
What is passive vaccination
Another way to gain immunity against a certain disease is through taking antibodies from a person whos has already been inflicted with the disease and introducing their antibodies into another person’s system to protect them from the disease.
In other words, passive immunity results when a person is given someone else’s antibodies. When these antibodies are introduced into the person’s body, the “loaned” antibodies help prevent or fight certain infectious diseases.
Key differences between active and passive vaccination
In active vaccination, a person’s immune system is triggered to produce required antibodies while in passive vaccination, the ‘ready-made’ antibodies specific to one disease are administered.
Active vaccination requires a longer period of time to be effective as it ‘only’ triggers the immune system which in turn takes the due natural process to produce antibodies.
On the other hand, passive vaccination protects the person right away as there is no waiting period for immune system to get to work.
However, active vaccination provides immunity for a long period of time as the antibodies present were produced by the immune system itself, but passive vaccine lasts only for a few weeks or months as the antibodies are introduced into the person.
Active immunization requires more time but also lasts longer, while passive immunization is quick but has a brief lifetime.
Can passive vaccination provide relief against Covid-19
Scientists have identified highly effective antibodies against the novel coronavirus, which they say can lead to the development of a passive vaccination for Covid-19.
The scientists at the German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases (DZNE) and Charite – Universitatsmedizin Berlin isolated almost 600 different antibodies from the blood of individuals who had overcome Covid-19.
“Three of our antibodies are particularly promising for clinical development,” explained Harald Pruss, a research group leader at the DZNE and also a senior physician at Charite – Universitatsmedizin Berlin. “Using these antibodies, we have started to develop a passive vaccination against SARS-CoV-2,” Pruss said.
In addition to the treatment of patients, preventive protection of healthy individuals who have had contact with infected persons is also a potential application, the researchers said. How long the protection lasts will have to be investigated in clinical studies, they said.
For Covid-19, this approach is also being investigated through the administration of plasma-derived from the blood of recovered patients. With the plasma, antibodies of donors are transferred, they said.