“The third dose is effective”

“The third dose is effective”
“The third dose is effective”

The good news that puts a stop to uncontrolled fears about the variant Omicron comes from the pilot country in the fight against Covid, Israel: “The first data show that with three doses of Pfizer vaccine you are protected by the Omicron variant”. These are the words of the health minister Nitzan Horowitz who explained: «The situation is under control and there is no reason to panic. We expected a new variant and we are ready. In the coming days we will have more precise information on the effectiveness of the vaccine, but the first indications show that those who have a booster are most likely protected against this variant ».

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Affirmations that have the power to cheer up after five days in which the world has trembled at the hypothesis that the variant with 32 mutations isolated in South Africa, and immediately defined as a variant of concern by the WHO, could decree the uselessness of anti-Covid vaccines. Even before Israel’s position arrived on the other side of the Mediterranean, it was the executive director of the European Medicines Agency (EMA) Emer Cooke who calmed the waters on the effectiveness of immunizers: “Authorized vaccines are effective and continue to save people from severe forms and death. Even if the new variant will spread more, the vaccines we have will continue to guarantee protection ». And he insisted on the need to make the calls. Meanwhile, the ECDC, the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control, has detected 42 cases of the Omicron variant registered in the EU so far.

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Omicron, Moderna’s position

Less reassuring, however, was the managing director of the modern pharmaceutical company Stéphane Bancel, who in an interview said that he expected a “substantial decline” in the effectiveness of the current vaccines against the Omicron variant, while it will take months to develop new ones. effective vaccines. “I think that in no way can the effectiveness be the same as we had with the Delta,” he added. In short, for Bancel a “substantial decline” in the efficacy of the old vaccines would be foreseeable: “I don’t know how much because we have to wait for the data. But all the scientists I’ve talked to say it’s not going to be good. ‘ Claims that have raised an outcry from experts who consider claims that are not based on reliable data out of place. “Premature and misleading at this time,” the microbiologist Antonio Cassone, a member of the American Academy of Microbiology, and former director of Infectious Diseases of the Higher Institute of Health, rejected Bancel’s words. «It will be possible to clarify when there will be research data and clinical observations – he explained – these data are lacking. We already know that these vaccines do not protect sufficiently from infection but protect against disease and it is likely – he continued – that fully vaccinated people, including the third dose as soon as possible for everyone, will be sufficiently protected from the disease ». In short, according to Cassone, statements of this nature “only upset the people.”

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What the ECDC says

Along the same lines, Roberto Cauda, ​​infectious disease specialist at the Gemelli Polyclinic, who added a further detail: «The virus has not changed completely, so much so as to prevent vaccines from working. The vaccine stimulates the immune system, with the third dose there is a superior, broader immune response, and a drag effect could be obtained by inducing the immune system to be alerted even against the Omicron variant ». Meanwhile, the ECDC, the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control, has detected 42 cases of the Omicron variant registered so far in the EU while investigations are underway on six other possible suspected infections. All confirmed cases to date show mild disease symptoms or are asymptomatic. And if the scenario were confirmed: greater contagiousness but mild and not serious symptoms thanks to vaccination protection paradoxically, explains the mathematician Giovanni Sebastiani, of the Institute for Calculation Applications’ M. Piconè, of the National Research Council (Cnr) “Its controlled diffusion, with the protection of fragile categories at risk, could prove to be positive for us, at least on a general theoretical level”.

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