“An alarm bell, but if we don’t vaccinate the world, no one is safe”

“An alarm bell, but if we don’t vaccinate the world, no one is safe”
“An alarm bell, but if we don’t vaccinate the world, no one is safe”

No alarmism, but “an alarm bell”, as the microbiologist of the Child Jesus, Carlo Perno, in an interview with the Press. That bell takes the name of Omicron and reminds everyone that we need “a global immunization strategy”, as the dean of Italian pharmacologists, Silvio Garattini, recalls, interviewed by the Messenger, with particular attention to Africa “or the world will not be saved from Covid ”, underlines Githinji Gitahi, director of Amref Health Africa and head of the new African Commission for the response to Covid.

Carlo Perno: “For now it’s just an alarm bell”. The microbiologist of the Bambino Gesù hospital in Rome, Carlo Perno, preaches calm, Omicron ”is a strain that reports about thirty mixed mutations in the Spike protein. A high number, but which does not automatically determine a danger ”. The key point, he explains, ”is the ability to replicate. If it were yet another annoying variant for immunity, but less widespread than Delta, we shouldn’t worry ”. According to Perno, “we will find out in a few weeks”. In a sense, Delta protects us, “because it is difficult to overcome”, but it is being opposed by current vaccines. What is certain is that “if we continue not to vaccinate the whole world, sooner or later a negative surprise could come”. And if Omicron were resistant to current vaccines “we would all have to redo first, second and third doses”.

Silvio Garattini: “Vaccinate poor countries. So far only promises ” “The new variant coming from South Africa reminds us that to get out of this pandemic we have to vaccinate the whole world, especially the poorest countries. Starting with Africa ”affirmed, in an interview with Messaggero Silvio Garattini, president of the Mario Negri Institute of Pharmacological Research in Milan. “This virus is showing us that in the era of globalization we are all citizens of the world. Now a country can protect itself from the virus with currently available vaccines, but what if a more aggressive and more contagious variant or even a vaccine-insensitive variant emerges in countries where vaccines do not exist? We will have to start all over again ”, underlines Garattini. Now, “we still don’t know exactly how much more dangerous” the South African variant is. “We know that it has undergone changes in the Spike protein that could make it more contagious – he explains – So what the Ministry of Health did by closing flights from South Africa and neighboring countries is correct”. According to Garattini, the right strategy is “a great international alliance that takes care of vaccinating countries that cannot do it on their own. Think of Africa, where only about 2 percent of the population is vaccinated. We need vaccines, lots of them, and we need money. But it is needed to protect all of us from the threat of Sars-CoV-2 variants. All the countries of the world must create a system and pass from promises to facts ”.

Sergio Abrignani: “Few data, but don’t invite the unvaccinated at Christmas”. “It is too early to draw conclusions on the new South African variant. The cases are few and the data fragmented. Worst-case scenario greater diffusivity and ability to escape the vaccine immune response – we should booster with the modified vaccine dose. After all, it takes a few days to change the genetic sequence in the mRna vaccine and create a spike with the new variant “. To say this in an interview with Il Giornale, the immunologist Sergio Abrignani, full professor at the University of Milan, as well as a member of the Technical Scientific Committee. “Those who get vaccinated can have a normal life and Christmas back. And of those seven million unvaccinated, at least 5 are just hesitant and I think they will get vaccinated ”. Optimistically, two million no vaxes remain. “The models tell us that in a few weeks we could have 20-30,000 cases. But we hope to stop soon “. On family dinners with no vax relatives, he has no doubts: “Every guest should swab in the hours before the meetings. However, I would not invite unvaccinated relatives ”.

Githinji Gitahi: “Give the vaccines to Africa or the world will not be saved from Covid”. “This is a global pandemic and because the world is interconnected, no one can feel safe until everyone is safe. There is no need to ban flights from South Africa, as you are doing. There is no need to bar doors and windows, because the virus will find its way anyway. The most effective strategy – as well as the most ethical – is to make sure everyone is vaccinated ”. This was stated by Githinji Gitahi, director of Amref Health Africa and head of the new African Commission for response to Covid-19, in an interview with Repubblica. “Africa has 17% of the world’s population, but has so far only had access to 3% of global vaccine doses. Today in the world more third doses are administered than first doses, meaning rich nations are giving more boosters than first doses are being delivered by poor nations. This is immoral ”.

Alberto Mantovani: “Vaccinate us, the children, the world”. “The lesson from the omicron variant is that we need to vaccinate ourselves, vaccinate children and vaccinate the world. As long as it circulates we will be in check ”. Thus the immunologist Alberto Mantovani (Humanitas) on Rai Radio1. “The closure on travel is a temporary measure that allows us to understand the situation. In the long run, it is not by closing ourselves that we will resolve the situation ”. On vaccinating children: “For the sake of children I think it is important to vaccinate them. It is true that the disease affects them more rarely but they get sick. The benefits outweigh the risks “.

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