The director of the Oxford Vaccine Group, Andrew Pollard, has warned about the ability of the Beta variant of the coronavirus to escape vaccine immunity. He has done it in an interview for the British station BBC Radio 4, where he has qualified that vaccines will continue to offer “very high protection against hospitalizations and deaths.
Pollard has explained that the variant Beta, first identified in South Africa, “is really pretty good at circumventing vaccine immunity“. “We know that people who have been immunized with messenger RNA vaccines, such as Pfizer, as well as Oxford / AstraZeneca, can become infected with the beta variant“said the immunologist. Therefore, Pollard anticipates that this mutation it could “spread between vaccinated populations”.
According to the immunologist, the increase in infections “will translate, unfortunately, into an increase in hospital admissions and deaths “. However, this increase “will be much less than in other waves” because vaccines do protect against serious infections.
Less income and deaths
Despite its apparent resistance to vaccines, Pollard has ensured that the Beta variant will cause far fewer severe cases and deaths. “We hope to get a very high protection against hospitalization and deaths and I am absolutely confident that this will happen, as this is how vaccines work, “he said.
Lifting of restrictions
The warning of this epidemiologist about the risk of contagion of the new variants coincides with the lifting of the last restrictions in force in the United Kingdom. As of this Monday, the mask is no longer mandatory in England and the limitations on capacity indoors are eliminated. Faced with this situation, Pollard recalled that “the Beta variant is also in the UK ”.