The decision to vaccinate based on the measurement of antibodies has no scientific basis, it is an empty exercise, said Vladimir Chulanov, chief freelance specialist in infectious diseases, in an interview with RBC.
Earlier, the head of the Gamalei Center, Academician Alexander Ginzburg and his deputy, one of the creators of the Sputnik V vaccine, Denis Logunov, said that the level of antibodies equal to 300 international units (Bau/ml) fully protects against the delta strain of coronavirus. The developers of the vaccine came to this conclusion after a study in which 4 thousand Muscovites participated. Ginzburg explained that people with such a level of antibodies can be “practically unlimited.” Logunov also noted that the level of 300 Bau/ml can be considered sufficient for protection, but to date there is no fixed level of antibodies that could protect against COVID infection with a guarantee.
At the same time, the World Health Organization (WHO) does not give estimates of protection from coronavirus infection when any level of antibodies is reached.
WHO representative in Russia’s Melita Vujinovich has also repeatedly stressed that their presence does not serve as an obstacle to vaccination.
In a conversation with RBC, Chulanov said that in this case he agrees more with WHO. “The most correct thing is to be vaccinated in accordance with the recommendations given now by the Ministry of Health, in six months,” he said.
The experts interviewed by RBC noted that to counteract the coronavirus, it is the virus neutralizing antibodies that can bind to the virus protein that are important. Tests to detect these antibodies are carried out in special laboratories, for example at the Gamalei Center, Vector and others, explained Alexander Ivanov, head of the laboratory at the V. A. Engelhardt Institute of Molecular Biology, to RBC.
Chulanov confirms that virus neutralization tests are available only to isolated laboratories. Commercial laboratories can correlate with them, but very conditionally, he adds. “Quantitative test systems, which are calibrated according to virus neutralizing test systems, reflect the real essence, although not 100%. Nevertheless, determining the number of antibodies is an empty task from the point of view of making a decision on vaccination,” the infectious disease specialist believes.