SAN DIEGO -- Side-by-side X-rays of COVID-19 positive lungs illustrate the impact vaccines can make.
University of California San Diego Radiologist Dr. Albert Hsiao has been interpreting X-rays of COVID patients since the pandemic began.
In one image, the vaccinated person's lungs reveal a lot of black space, which means it's filled with air. In another image, the unvaccinated person's lung is much cloudier, which means the infection has taken over.
“Cloudy, white areas that you see, areas of the lung that are filled with fluid or immune cells, or the virus itself,” said Dr. Hsiao.
In contrast, Dr. Hsiao says the clearer X-ray shows the vaccine at work. It recognizes the virus as a foreign invader and then fights it.
“The vaccine prevents the virus from replicating as rapidly, as freely in a vaccinated person as in an unvaccinated person. It allows the immune system to have a head start before the virus gets out of control,” said Dr. Hsiao.
Another set of side-by-side images are from the same patients' lungs. An AI algorithm has identified and colored in the areas of infection. In the images, the unvaccinated person’s lungs are filled with color.
That patient remains hospitalized. The vaccinated patient was sent home.
“These X-rays are an illustration of how remarkable and effective the vaccines are in protecting us from this virus,” said Dr. Hsiao.
It's not known if either patient's virus has been sequenced, but it's likely both are cases of the Delta variant.
This story was originally reported by Michael Chen at 10news.com.