Virologist Chepurnov: the omicron may be characterized by an antibody-dependent increase in infection may mean that the new variant of the infection has a property that frightened scientists from the very beginning of the pandemic – an antibody-dependent intensification of the infection. This is evidenced by data published by scientists from South Africa research, said the head of the laboratory of especially dangerous infections of the Federal Research Center for Fundamental and Translational Medicine, Professor of Virology Alexander Chepurnov in a conversation with “Lenta.ru”.
If you believe this text, then those who have already been ill with the coronavirus are infected with the new strain more often than those who did not get sick at all [COVID-19]. This may indicate that there are some mechanisms that create additional opportunities for the virus to enter the body. This resembles what was feared from the very beginning – a phenomenon called antibody-dependent intensification of infection.
Alexander Chepurnov Professor of Virology
Chepurnov admitted that if this property of the omicron strain is confirmed by research, then new types of vaccines, built on a different principle, may be needed to effectively combat it. “If a new variant of the virus turns out to be one that responds better to a sensitized organism, that is, one that has already become acquainted with the coronavirus in one form or another, even if it is vaccinated or if it has been recovered,” he said.
At the same time, the virologist noted that researchers from South Africa did not provide any data on how the omicron strain interacts with existing vaccines. “It seems that this highly modified coronavirus is giving us another very serious surprise,” he said.
The scientist also noted that so far there is little data on how the disease progresses in those infected with the omicron strain. In particular, there is almost no data that people with antibodies after suffering COVID-19 get sick more severely than the first time.
“So far, I would say that there are more questions here than any informative information, but what is in this article is rather unpleasant, “Chepurnov summed up.
The way out is the need to strengthen scientific research in order to understand the scientific mechanisms and understand where everything is heading.
Alexander Chepurnov, professor of virology, It is too early to question the effectiveness of vaccines against a new strain
The scientific leader was skeptical about the conclusions of the publication of scientists from South Africa State Research Institute of Vaccines and Serums named after Mechnikov Vitaly Zverev. In his opinion, the study does not reflect the full picture of the immune response to the virus.
“So far, it does not seem that the omicron bypasses the immunity of the sick, because they determined it only by neutralizing antibodies, and in people who have recovered, everything is somewhat more complicated – there is cellular immunity, cytoplasmic cells. So far, I would not trust these publications, “he said in a conversation with Lenta.ru.
This publication is the result of laboratory research, it contains empirical data. And you should treat them accordingly.
Vitaly Zverev, microbiologist, scientific director of the Mechnikov Research Institute of Vaccines and Serums
Zverev also called doubts about the effectiveness of vaccines against the omicron premature. At the same time, he admitted that mutations of the virus will gradually reduce the effectiveness of existing drugs, but the omicron has not yet “changed so much that vaccines do not work.” -19 in any form have a higher chance of contracting the omicron strain. And if they tolerate the coronavirus easily, then the unvaccinated may face hospitalization, said the country's Minister of Health Joe Paahl.
Russian Health Minister Mikhail Murashko, in turn, said that no cases of infection with a new strain of coronavirus have yet been identified in Russia … He assured that the department monitors all arriving from countries where outbreaks of the virus have been recorded.
At the same time, scientists believe that the omicron strain may already be brought to Russia, and that it should replace the delta strain and has taken a dominant position, it may take about six months.