Virologist Altstein: the spread of the omicron strain can lead to the end of the pandemic Microbiology named after Gamaleya Anatoly Altstein assessed whether the new omicron strain of coronavirus is capable of provoking a new wave of disease by the New Year. The specialist spoke about this in an interview with Sputnik radio.
The future of the virus
A scientist at the Gamaleya Center said the omicron strain would not be able to spread widely until the New Year, as the virus would take about six months to do so. As evidence, he recalled the delta variant of the infection, which arose in the fall of 2020. However, it was often recorded only in May-July 2021. According to Altstein, the spread of the omicron strain could lead to the end of the coronavirus pandemic.
Even if it turns out that it is so contagious that it spreads all over the world, it will be a milder disease than it is now, maybe , even much lighter
Anatoly Altshtein VirologistAltstein stressed that the omicron variant of the pathogen does not provoke a severe course of COVID-19. This strain has many mutations, so it has an unstable genome, the professor suggested.
32 mutations in the main protein has an omicron-strain of coronavirus
It is the unstable genome of the omicron strain that suppresses those parts of the virus that lead to serious illness. The scientist explained: among the recorded cases of infection with the new variant, there is not a single fatal outcome. This was also stated by the World Health Organization. All patients suffer from the disease in a mild form.
However, the scientist admitted that “the future may undermine his hypothesis,” since at the moment the omicron strain may not have infected the elderly. “If it comes, it will be seen,” he said. As of December 3, a new omicron-strain of coronavirus infection has already been recorded in 38 countries of the world.
But so far the omicron does not give the impression of a virus that is terrible in its consequences
Anatoly Altshtein VirologistPrediction for a pandemic
The virologist added that the degree of infectiousness or infectiousness of the omicron will only be assessed over time. However, he admitted that the emergence and spread of a new strain of coronavirus could lead to the end of the pandemic.
If the lethality of the coronavirus is comparable to the flu, then we will already assume that the pandemic is over. The pandemic has a chance to end with the omicron
Anatoly Altshtein Virologist
The scientist suggested that omicron could supplant the delta strain, making the pandemic less dangerous. He stressed that about three percent of patients die from COVID-19. However, with the active spread of the omicron strain, the pathogenicity – the ability of the virus to cause disease – will decrease.
Opinions of other experts
Another Russian scientist, chief infectious disease specialist of the Federal Medical and Biological Agency (FMBA), head of the Department of Infectious Diseases and Epidemiology of the Pirogov Russian National Research Medical University, Vladimir Nikiforov, also linked the arrival of the omicron strain with the end of the pandemic. He stressed that the virus “began to slide into the area of common seasonal respiratory infections.”
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Omicron may become the dominant strain in Russia in the next six months, said Vitaly Zverev, academician of the Russian Academy of Sciences, microbiologist, scientific director of the Mechnikov Research Institute of Vaccines and Serums. However, he added that he considers discussions on this topic premature, since such cases have not yet been observed anywhere in the world.
Allergist-immunologist Vladimir Bolibok admitted that the omicron strain of coronavirus could become a natural vaccine and save humanity from pandemics. He also believes that the new version “will run ahead of all other strains and immunize everyone.” He noted that the department is monitoring the situation and tracking those who arrive from countries where a new variant of COVID-19 has already been discovered. Russia has sent requests for samples of “omicron”, but this process will take some time.
History of the emergence of omicron-strain
The new strain under the code B.1.1.529 was first recorded in South Africa on November 8. Isolated cases of infection have also been reported in Japan, Canada, Spain, Sweden, Egypt, Austria, the United States and other countries. The new variant of COVID-19 was assigned the Greek letter omicron (O). WHO experts consider this mutation to be of concern.