Monday, January 24

Epidemiologists and microbiologists urge Health to speed up the third doses to deal with the new variants

When we are still recovering from the shock of the omicron variant, on the horizon are appearing new variants that raise fears for a change for the worse in the scenario of the coronavirus pandemic. Variants like IHU, recently detected in France, or the deltacron, which combines the variants delta and omicron, they cause the alarms to go off again.

Something that provides reassurance in this uncertain scenario is that the available vaccines have protected very effectively against the variants that have been appearing “and RNA technology would allow them to be quickly adapted to a new variant,” recalls the epidemiologist José María López Lozano.

The covid, like any other virus, accumulates many mutations, “and few of them are of importance,” he recalls Juan Francisco Navarro, President of the Valencian Society of Preventive Medicine. This specialist calls for the immunization to be accelerated with the third doses, “to reduce the impact of new variants, since omicron is already behind the majority of infections in the Valencian Community.” This has been revealed in the latest variant report from the Ministry of Health, which indicates that this variant is already behind 61.4% of the cases detected in the Valencian Community.

Different specialists consulted by this newspaper call for tranquility and insist that current vaccines are proving to be very effective against new variants of the coronavirus. However, and in order to root out the threat that new, more virulent variants may pose, they demand that the Health Department accelerate the third doses to the vulnerable population and that once and for all a massive vaccination be carried out in the poorest countries.

“We should not be too concerned because vaccines are being effective, but it is time for governments to start mass vaccinating around the world to end this nightmare. The laziness with which they are acting in this regard is surprising, “says epidemiologist José María López Lozano. This specialist recalls that in many countries in Africa, where a large part of the population has not yet been vaccinated, there are many people who are immunosuppressed by HIV, “and in these people the virus spreads more easily and can lead to a greater number of mutations ».

For the head of the Microbiology service at Hospital de Sant Joan, Victoria Ortiz of the Table, Spain must increase its capacity for sequencing coronavirus samples to be able to know as soon as possible which variants are circulating in a territory and take the appropriate measures in time to stop its spread. In the province of Alicante there are two hospitals, the General of Alicante and the General of Elche, which are in charge of weekly sequencing a selection of samples from coronavirus patients and although since the pandemic broke out the ability to genetically analyze the samples has notably increased, in the opinion of Ortiz de la Tabla we are still far from reaching adequate figures to control the possible new variants. One of the biggest problems is that the Microbiology services are currently completely collapsed, since they are in charge of analyzing all the samples that are collected through PCR, in addition to their usual work of processing samples of other infectious diseases. or bacteria resistant to antibiotics.

Regarding the new variants that have been detected in recent weeks, this professional believes that there is no need to alarm but be vigilant. «If the appearance of this new variant is really confirmed that it is a combination of delta and omicron and that it is more transmissible like omicron and with something more gravity, like the delta, it can be worrisome, “he says.

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