What do you know about the new strain found in the UK?
Viruses mutate a lot and the new strain has 19 mutations. Thousands of mutations of the new coronavirus have already been recorded and, in the latter case, nine of the 19 mutations of the strain are in the protruding protein of the virus, which is responsible for adhesion to cells and recognizes humans. It is also the protein that antibodies are raised against, which is what they are looking for with the vaccine.
Could the vaccine have no effect on the mutation?
There is no need to fear that the effectiveness of the vaccine will decrease because the new strain does not affect the production of antibodies, but rather the transmissibility of the virus. The new strain does not make the virus more aggressive. It is normal to be concerned that the vaccine may not work but it does not affect the antibody recognition areas at all.
“A third dose will be needed before 2022. We may be vaccinated in January and February and in May we will do it again”
How can virus mutations be stopped?
Mutations in viruses can only be prevented by making the virus replicate less. This is done by getting fewer people infected. The less a virus replicates, the less it mutates. If we stop the pandemic, we stop the possibility of the virus mutating very quickly. Viruses go on their own, jumping from person to person and even to animals.
If we have to get used to mutations in viruses, why has this strain in the UK been so newsworthy?
Because the contagion capacity has increased, in the United Kingdom they have detected an increase in the transmissibility of the virus. It has been found to spread much faster and that is why the new strain is being studied. Many more people infected by it are appearing.
At the end of this week the vaccination campaign should start, how do you rate it?
The arrival of the vaccine is good news, without a doubt. Many people ask me if I will wear it. Of course I do, when it’s due, I’ll put it on. I have no doubts about the safety of the drug. It has developed fast because the processes for testing its safety and effectiveness have overlapped. That does not mean that they have skipped the processes. There is still time for the vaccine to take effect among the population and act as a barrier.
Do you have questions about the vaccine?
I have doubts that the effect of the vaccine will be long-lasting. We are going to need frequent revaccinations to stop the pandemic because many people are infected. We cannot put all our hope that he begins to vaccinate. This is good news but I am concerned about the behavior that we will have during Christmas.
The vaccination campaign is very complex …
First, everyone has to handle the vaccine well because it requires special conditions for distribution and maintenance. It is relatively easy to make mistakes and for the vaccine to be ineffective. The immunity that it will generate will not last and, after a few months, the antibodies will disappear.
“What has been experienced the last two Saturdays in the center of Alicante is crazy, when we are talking about deaths”
Minister Illa has already warned that another dose will possibly be necessary in 2022 …
I think the third dose will be needed before 2022. To know if the levels of antibodies are maintained we need time that we do not have right now. What is known is that there are patients who have passed the covid in the first wave and no longer have antibodies. If passing the disease does not guarantee immunity, we cannot expect the antibodies in the vaccine to be long-lasting.
What scenario do you imagine?
It is possible that we will get vaccinated in January and February and in May we will have to do it for the third time, which is complex and expensive. I am happy with the appearance of the vaccine but I have no faith that it will solve the problems. We have to learn because it is the third coronavirus that causes problems for humanity.
Earlier you pointed out that you are concerned about social behavior during Christmas …
I congratulate the Valencian government for the courage it has had. Mobility must be limited to the maximum. It is a complicated issue because mixed messages are being sent. The pandemic is at a horrible time and people continue to flock to city centers to shop.
What is failing?
Family matters are being greatly restricted but crowds in cities are not being avoided. What has been lived the last two Saturdays in the center of Alicante is crazy. There is a good chance of a third wave in January. We are talking about deaths, such as the example that a plane falls in Spain every day. Better that we stay home and congratulate ourselves on WhatsApp.
Digsmak is a news publisher with over 12 years of reporting experiance; and have published in many industry leading publications and news sites.