Seniors will be vaccinated every year DELTA REMAINS DOMINANT

Seniors will be vaccinated every year DELTA REMAINS DOMINANT

SARS-CoV-2, like other coronaviruses, will be endemic and I am sure it will live with us. Vaccines are our best weapon against that, even if there are variants. However, the ability of this virus to mutate is less than the flu. The annual vaccination for the elderly will probably be needed again, but for the younger ones and people with stronger immunity, it may be less frequent, he says in an interview done by e-mail for Kurir prof. Dr. Justin Stebbing, a world-renowned oncologist from Imperial College London, who has published more than 600 papers in the most recognized journals and participated in the development of the Astra Zeneca vaccine, and we were interviewed with the help of the Flexiterian Foundation.


Should we fear that the dominance of delta strains will soon be replaced by an even more dangerous strain?

There are 24 letters in the Greek alphabet. We just don't know. I think the probability of a dominant vaccine-evading variant is low. I suspect there will be many outbreaks locally, and more variants, but I think Delta will remain dominant for the forseeable future. But, the stupidest virus is cleverer than the cleverest immunologist and the virus has out-foxed us before. 


You said jokingly that the Greek alphabet, after which the WHO names corona strains, has as many as 24 letters. Do we have to cut them all out to finish with coronavirus?

We just don't know enough - we do not know.


Breaking the immune barrier is a problem for the whole world. However, do vaccines amortize the clinical picture and reduce mortality even if they do not prevent the spread of delta strains?

The most important thing is they reduce hospitalisations and deaths. They probably do prevent some spread, but like everything it's far from 100%. Two doses are important.


The third dose of the vaccine - the same as the first two or a combination, and why one way or another? In case your answer is a combination?

We don't know if a different booster might be better but what we do know from several studies is it's safe. For the major approved vaccines, AstraZeneca, Johnson&Johnson - the 2 viral vector vaccines, and the 2 messenger RNA vaccines (Pfizer and Moderna), any combination seems appropriate. I recommend a third dose in elderly, vulnerable or immunosuppressed people, such as those with cancer receiving chemotherapy. We know that a combination of Delta plus a vaccine induces strong immune responses but we don't clinically know yet how long these last for, but can guess.


Vaccination of young people is a big problem everywhere, in the whole world, do you have any idea how to motivate them to get vaccinated, because without them there is no collective immunity?

I think the Israeli experience shows that herd immunity will be very difficult. They vaccinated all their adults and we observed an outbreak in children. I think with children it's a snowball effect - seeing one's friends have a vaccine is a great motivator, and seeing it's safe and protects you. 


Vaccination of children older than 12 in our country is measured in per mille. Children are usually easy to pass with a coronavirus, but are they spared by long covid? Research in the United States shows that due to the pandemic, there is an increase in pediatric obesity. Are children now becoming easy targets for covid because obesity is one of the major risk factors for covid?

Children rarely become sick and new studies show they rarely get long COVID which is important. But, obese children are at greater risk of complications. 


What are the most serious consequences of covid on the organism and what is it that will most often remain as a permanent disease / damage to the organism?

Developing severe COVID-19 requiring hospitalisation can effect multiple organs and cause long lasting lung scaring. Every organ can in fact be affected. 


The flu almost didn't exist last year, should we expect a stronger blow this fall, associated with the coronavirus?

Very hard to say. All these viruses including RSV co-exist and they all affect communities in waves. 



There are many drugs in therapies against covid-19, and you personally have been working on them, some studies are announcing the "magic bullet" EXO-CD24. What do you think is the best therapy?

I like Baricitinib because it's a once daily simple well tolerated pill, cheap, has few drug-drug interactions, a short half life and seems safe. Most of all it has the largest mortality benefits in any randomised study, and has a dual anti-viral effect and anti-cytokine effect. 



How much have cancer patients suffered since the beginning of the pandemic and can we have a significant increase in the number of cancer patients?

There's no question the effects on many diseases from cancer to cardiovascular disease has been significant and there are excess deaths as a result of delays in cancer diagnosis and treatments. I don't think now there will be a significant increase in numbers. 


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