“Less lethal but much more transmissive than Delta. Thus the South African variant removes the peak of infections », explains the infectious disease specialist
ROME. «There is a dangerous underestimation of the current epidemiological phase in public opinion. The wrong message is being passed that the acceleration of the virus due to Omicron is all in all a ‘lesser evil “, but this is absolutely not true”, she explains to the Stampa.it Professor Roberto Cauda, director of the complex operating unit of Infectious Diseases of the Gemelli Polyclinic, reviewer of the government’s Covid parameters and scientific member of the European Medicines Agency (Ema). «The shock wave of the South African variant is impressive. In the United Kingdom the threshold of 100,000 new cases per day has been abundantly exceeded – underlines the Ordinary of Infectious Diseases of the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart -. With these growth rates, emergency rooms and hospitals become the fracture point of the system because an enlargement (never seen before) of the base of the infected inevitably causes an increase in situations that require medical intervention. For Omicron the severe forms are 1% instead of Delta’s 5% but the cases are exponentially more, with the result that the health systems are inundated with requests for help ».
In addition, the acceleration of Sars-Cov-2, the infectious disease specialist points out, “unpredictably postpones the reaching of the peak of new cases which, before the spread of the South African mutation, was indicated around the end of January”. Professor Cauda, who since the beginning of the pandemic has been at the forefront in the sequencing of variants, adds: “Among the population, the greater contagiousness of Omicron unfortunately corresponds to a psychological fatigue in observing precautionary measures (social distancing, constant use of Ffp2 masks, no to gatherings) and this increases individual and collective risks “. The mask, then, “after having worn it for 8 hours it loses its effectiveness and must be replaced with a new one”.
“I believe that in 2022 we will still have to make a further anti-Covid booster, using an updated vaccine, be it protein, Rna or Dna, but with the new variants in order to be directed towards this. But while waiting for this vaccine update, we still do the vaccination and above all the third booster dose because it protects us against severe illness and death in a more than satisfactory way “. Novavax, the new anti-Covid protein vaccine approved by the European drug agency Ema, is “a vaccine that has shown efficiency and safety equal to previous ones, even if it has not been tested against the Omicron variant of Sars-Cov-2 », Therefore it is« difficult to assess what the impact on this variant will be ». This is «a more traditional vaccine which has the characteristic of using the technology of“ recombinant proteins ”which is now very well tested. For example, the hepatitis B vaccine, and not only this, was made with this technology and we are talking about 20-30 years ago. So it is a system that has already been widely used. It is a technology that requires more time and this explains why, while it took a few months to develop the other vaccines, it took more than a year for this ». Like the other vaccines, “Novavax’s also contains Spike, the” harpoon “that allows the virus to attach itself to the cell, which in this case is in the form of protein while in the other vaccines it is in the form of Rna or Dna which will then produce the protein “. Therefore «it is possible that the rioters who have a bad eye on gene vaccines can somehow change their mind and, trusting a more proven technology, adhere to vaccination.
Meanwhile, adds the UOC director of the Gemelli Polyclinic in Rome, “the opportunity to spend Christmas with only vaccinated people is evident. And for the little ones to make a tampon. Young people have a richer social life and therefore more opportunities for contagion, while young children are not yet vaccinated. in the house there are people of all ages and even frail ones ». To reduce the risks you need a swab “. And” in a screening situation, even quick swabs are acceptable: they do not give the same guarantee as the molecular swab but they are easier, faster, less expensive. A responsible precautionary measure when you have trivial symptoms or to participate in the tables and mega meetings, mass bingo, the New Year’s Eve dance should be avoided.
The director of the complex operational unit of infectious diseases of the Gemelli Polyclinic continues: “Israel is the laboratory of the world, in the sense that it has vaccinated the population first of all in a very short period, it was the first to realize that immunity it tended to decrease as we moved away from the period of vaccination especially against the infection and this led to vaccinating with the third dose first the over 60s and then everyone. And now he is also vaccinating children ». Regarding the Omicron variant, “if you take the third dose it is possible that there may be a strengthened response. Even though the variant’s Spike protein is not identical to the Spike we are immunized against, the third dose is able to block it. ‘ Professor Cauda is a member of the Scientific Advisory Group (SAG) Infectious Disease of the European Medicines Agency (EMA). He will remain in office for three years. The SAG Infectious Disease is an advisory body serving the CHMP, the Committee for Medicinal Products for Human use, of the European regulatory authority. The group, recently established, brings together the skills that previously had been typical of SAG Anti-Infectives and SAG HIV Viral Diseases.