The Undersecretary of Health, Pierpaolo Sileri, in an interview with The print, he invokes calm, arguing that, at the moment, we must not give in to alarmism over the arrival of the Omicron variant in Italy (the first patient is an employee of Eni of Caserta who works in Mozambique). “If his contacts weren’t infected, we wouldn’t have repercussions and not much will change. On the contrary, in the case of other infected people on the plane and among the 5 family members with whom he returned, it would be a whole other question “, he explains. And, given that the man is already in isolation, as are his family, “the potential single controlled outbreak will not cause problems anyway,” he adds. Now the real problem is to understand how effective the anti-Covid vaccines are still against the new variant. “It was naive not to think that this variant could not arrive in Italy, it was only a matter of time,” says Sileri.
The hypothesis of the obligatory double buffer
“It’s too early to be worried. It could be a variant that infects more but does not circumvent vaccines. In this case it would only lead to the need to have more vaccinated. If, on the other hand, he eludes them, it will be a serious problem », Sileri explains. The results should arrive “within a week”. In the event that he were to evade vaccines, “then we will have to wait 3 months to reschedule the vaccines.” Meanwhile, in the next few hours, «we will evaluate a containment strategy at the European level. As long as the presence of the Omicron was confined to those African regions, the right choice was to block flights from those countries. Now, however, community decisions are needed for new restrictions ». For example, the obligation to double swab at entry and quarantine but only for those coming from countries where outbreaks are recorded. Finally, the other problem remains that of understanding whether the variant can be recognized by antigenic swabs. At the moment it is known that the molecular ones detect it. Nothing else. With this variant, among other things, “the seasonality of the virus has been lost since it is not winter in South Africa”, concludes Sileri.
Archive cover photo: MAURIZIO BRAMBATTI / ANSA