Vicente Larraga, researcher at the Margarita Salas Center for Biological Research at the Higher Council for Scientific Research (CIB-CSIC), foresees that covid-19 pandemic spread “at least for two or three years”, although he also considers that normality will return to Spain in “autumn”.
“The logical thing is that the pandemic decrease a lot from this summer and that in Spain it is practically finished by the end of 2021. That would be normal. I’d say we can go back to our normal lives next fall. We are having some problems with vaccination, we should go faster, but by autumn there should be a high number of protected people and then the virus will forcibly decline. Also, even if new strains, the disease tends to fade. It has happened in all epidemics throughout history, why is it going to be different now? “, He comments in an interview with the CSIC.
Two or three more years of pandemic
The researcher recalls that the vaccine has to reach “the greatest number of people and especially the most disadvantaged.” “It is often forgotten that as long as these people are not protected, neither will we. For now we are solving the pandemic in the Western world, but the disease will continue for at least 2-3 yearsWe know that “, he highlighted.
For this reason, he has insisted on the need to “keep making vaccines“And that Spain has its own capacity to do them.” This goes for a long time and we cannot depend on the outside because the interests of others do not coincide with ours. From the ability to make masks to vaccines, Spain must be reindustrialized, and that reindustrialization must be based on innovation. This is achieved with research. In the 21st century, if you don’t have the knowledge, you are going to be a very subsidiary country. I don’t have a mania for bars, but it’s time to change the model“, has claimed.
Larraga, who is developing a vaccine against SARS-CoV-2, believes it could be available by the end of the year if everything goes according to plan. “Theoretically, we are finishing the preclinical phase of animal testing. I say theoretically because when you work on a vaccine you never know what the next step is going to be like. This is an endurance race. We will continue with these studies for about another month. When we have all the data, I hope it will be early spring, we will go to the European Medicines Agency. If they approve it, we would start human tests and, if everything went well, by the end of the year we would have the vaccine finished, “he says.
Their vaccine is based on a synthetic molecule in which they have put all the signals so that the gene for protein S del virus is integrated, produced, recognized as foreign by the immune system and protection is generated.
“That’s why we don’t have to do any tests on macaques. It’s not necessary and it’s an added advantage because, if current vaccines stopped working with more resistant strains, we could make a new one in three weeks; we would only have to take the sequence (from protein) of the new strain, build a gene that codes for it and do the same thing again. We would modify the new sequence in the computer and skip the previous work. Being a synthetic vaccine, it is more flexible and can be easily adapted Its other strong point is the temperature, “he explains as an advantage of his vaccine.
Thus, he is “convinced” that a vaccine developed in Spain will “hit the market”. “I even think that 2 or 3 will be able to go on the market, hopefully one of them is ours or that of my CSIC colleagues. I think we offer something different. If we present a good vaccine that covers a new niche, it will be interesting for one of the big pharmaceutical companies, “he added.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.