What is the danger of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus which in Italy has few cases compared to other countries? Is it more contagious but less lethal? The latest news and expert statements are shedding light, while further data is awaited. Good news also arrives on the vaccine front because three doses of Pfizer-BioNTech are able to neutralize Omicron of the coronavirus, the two pharmaceutical companies announced.
The Omicron variant “needs to be downsized within certain limits, in the sense that we have to wait for more certain results,” he says Pierpaolo Sileri, Undersecretary of Health, spoke to the microphones of the broadcast ‘Italy has awakened’ on Radio Cusano Campus. “It has been said that it probably spreads more, maybe it is equally dangerous, but the real danger is that it can evade vaccines. At the moment it seems to be neutralized with three doses and if this is confirmed it would mean that we have to accelerate with the booster “emphasizes Sileri.
“We have de-classified the Omicron variant to what it should be, it has many mutations, but three doses cover it 100% and it is not excluded that even two doses. The vaccines therefore are not punctured even by Omicron – underlines Adnkronos Health Matteo Bassetti, director of the Infectious Diseases Clinic at the Policlinico San Martino hospital in Genoa, taking stock of the situation – As regards the growth of infections, it is likely that the cases supported by Omicron are less intense than those supported by Delta. Proof of this is South Africa which is today full of cases from Omicron, but if we look at the data of September, when the latter variant was not there, out of 110-120 thousand active cases there were 300 deaths, today there are 35 deaths. It is probably more contagious but less aggressive. Even if it were, then it hurts less and looks more like a cold and all in all it’s not that bad. ”
“In Italy, however, we must focus on the Delta variant because Omicron cases are few – adds Bassetti – I would hope that the latter would replace the Delta because it is less dangerous. But we still have 6 million unvaccinated with many 50-70 year-olds. These are often hospitalized and put us in difficulty. The Italian situation tells us that there are again the emergency rooms in difficulty because so many unvaccinated arrive. the health workers because these people end up in resuscitation. This, as a doctor, hurts me a lot “.
On the Omicron variant “good news is coming: it is more contagious than the Delta but, even from the first data coming from South Africa, it is less lethal and the symptoms are modest” he explains to Adnkronos Salute Massimo Ciccozzi, Head of the Medical Statistics and Epidemiology Unit of the Faculty of Medicine and Surgery of the Bio-Medico Campus of Rome.
“All the mutations we have seen on the ‘Spike’ protein tell us that this virus is taking the first steps towards a true adaptation to humans – adds Ciccozzi – and this is also good news. Everyone had said that Omicron could be a variant dangerous and now they have gone back. From the first data, still not definitive, it seems that the vaccine also works. The ‘Italian’ cases of Omicron are vaccinated and are either well or with few symptoms “.
“We have discovered and are publishing it, scientific work has been accepted, that this variant has greater stability in the Spike protein. This – he observes – tells us that it infects better than the Delta, it is more contagious, but it does not increase lethality. A evolution that is triggered when a virus has to adapt to humans, as happened for the cold, the strategy is to be more contagious but less lethal. So it is clear that vaccination does not protect us from contagion but from the symptoms of the disease. – he concludes – is to be calm and serene but also to take the third dose if we haven’t done it yet “.
“To date, the data tell us that in Europe” the presence of the Omicron variant “is sporadic, and that in Italy there are a dozen isolations. And that it no longer seems to be transmissible as originally thought, and is certainly less pathogenic. , as announced yesterday by the WHO. Furthermore, the three doses of the anti-Covid vaccine, according to data provided by Pfizer, are protective “also against this variant. “All this leads us today to a conclusion – which obviously may change in the event of new data – that is that we should not worry about Omicron” the epidemiologist told Adnkronos Salute. Donato Greco, a member of the Technical Scientific Committee (CTS), who adds: “It is likely that Omicron will spread in our country, but it is not, and in any case if it does we are protected with the three doses of vaccine”.
Greco, epidemiologist with decades of experience behind him, on the front line starting from the cholera of ’73 in Naples to the current pandemic, explains: “I do not know of viruses without variants, and with regard to Covid, 1500 mutations have been identified in 2020 alone . It is clear that the single mutation is part of the life of the virus and does not bring important variations, and this only happens with the sum of the mutations. Omicron has 32 mutations in the Spike protein zone and for this reason it has been classified as ‘worrying’ by the WHO “. But the World Health Organization itself, “just yesterday reassured us”, concludes.
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