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“There is no other way”: The deputy director of the Gamaleya Center bets on group immunity as the key to reducing the lethality of covid-19

Posted: 23 Nov 2021 07:17 GMT

At the beginning of 2022, the trial stages for a nasal vaccine will begin in Russia, which “will allow people to be sterilized more effectively in terms of infection, that is, to create precisely sterilizing immunity.”

Denís Logunov, deputy director of the Gamaleya National Research Center for Epidemiology and Microbiology, in Moscow, gave RT an exclusive interview in which he referred, among other topics, to the need to achieve herd immunity against covid-19, such as primary goal for the entire planet in the circumstances of the pandemic. As you will recall, it was at this institution that the first anticovid vaccine in the world, Sputnik V, and later the single-dose Sputnik Light, was created.

“Indeed, herd immunity will play a critical role in defeating the coronavirus. […] There’s no other way. In all the other pathogens capable of producing acute respiratory infections in the human population, the fatality rate is markedly lower, significantly different from what we have with covid. Even in the case of swine flu it is 0.04%, while, according to data from the World Health Organization (WHO), that of covid is 2%, that is, 50 times higher“said the expert.

Achieving group immunity would obviously reduce the number of fatal and serious cases, easing pressure on the health sector. However, get decreased infection rates it would be more difficult, Logunov predicted, explaining that in order not to get sick, it is necessary to “systematically update immunity.”

Update Sputnik V?

Thus, the scientist spoke about the possibility or need to update the existing version of the Sputnik V vaccine, especially given the danger it represents. the delta variant of the virus.

The Russian Sputnik V vaccine shows a high safety profile and an efficacy of 96.3%, indicates a study carried out in Belarus

“Up-to-date versions of coronavirus vaccines can be developed and produced quickly [gracias a las] platforms that are used not only at Centro Gamaleya, but at Pfizer, Moderna, Astrazeneca, Johnson & Johnson, […] they adapt very quickly to new variants, “said Logunov.

In that sense, he stressed that constant monitoring of the epidemiological situation it is “the only way” to “make adaptations on time.” In addition, he assured that if a variant with greater pathogenicity, transmissibility or lethality appears, it would be “logical” to update the vaccine, a process that would require a few months.

“In principle, if the delta variant turns out to be very stable, then the possibility of changing the strains could be examined [de las vacunas]. Currently, the existing efficacy is greater than that stated in the WHO requirements. […] At the moment, there are no firm reasons to proceed with these changes “, highlighted the specialist.

Along the same lines, he said that the Gamaleya center already has “all the vaccine strains”, after testing their efficacy and safety in animals. In addition, it guaranteed that there are limited batches that can be used in the framework of clinical trials and then in practice, in the event of a decision on the matter by the health authorities.

However, he commented that for now most countries have opted for the “third boost” strategy, which effectively restores lowered immunity six to eight months after the first inoculation. Thus, revaccination is emerging as an efficient measure to “protect the population”.

German Health Minister states that Germans will be "almost all vaccinated, cured or dead" at the end of winterGerman Health Minister states that Germans will be "almost all vaccinated, cured or dead" at the end of winter

Delta strain: product of virus evolution

Referring to the delta variant, Logunov dismissed the idea that it is more lethal than the one detected in Wuhan. However, he specified that with it the structure of the incidence changed, so more children are infected.

In addition, the incubation period was reduced, which is now around three to five days: “a very short period” that makes it difficult for the body to respond to the virus, especially if it involves weakened immune systems.

Towards a nasal version of Sputnik V

On the other hand, Logunov said that now the specialists of the Gamaleya center are working to soon produce the first batches of a nasal version of the Sputnik V vaccine. This type of immunization would allow “not only to create systemic immunity”, but also to provide direct care ” the gateway to infection. ” This, in turn, “will allow people to be sterilized more effectively in terms of infection, that is, precisely create sterilizing immunity“.

Regarding the timing for the development of this nasal drug, the expert pointed out that the first two stages of efficacy trials could start in Russia early 2022 and last three to five months.

This Sunday, Russian President Vladimir Putin affirmed that he is willing to participate in the tests.

About the author

Donna Miller

Donna is one of the oldest contributors of Gruntstuff and she has a unique perspective with regards to Science which makes her write news from the Science field. She aims to empower the readers with the delivery of apt factual analysis of various news pieces from Science. Donna has 3.5 years of experience in news-based content creation, and she is now an expert at it. She loves journalism, and that is the reason, she moved from a web content writer to a News writer, and she is loving it. She is a fun-loving woman who has very good connections with every team member. She makes the working environment cheerful which improves the team’s work productivity.

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