High infectivity of new coronavirus strain named as good sign
A second, even more infectious new strain of coronavirus, imported from South Africa, has been found in the UK. According to United Kingdom Health Secretary Matt Hancock, it is transmitted faster and appears to have mutated more strongly than the previous strain found in Foggy Albion. We talked with the chairman of the National Society of Industrial Medicine Alexei Yakovlev about what to expect from new mutations of the coronavirus.
- In itself, the emergence of new strains of the new coronavirus should not scare anyone. Viruses are the fastest mutating creatures on the planet, says Alexey Petrovich. - Nobody and nothing mutates as quickly as viruses. In general, those colds coronaviruses that our children get sick in the form of mild colds account for up to 25% of all ARVIs. And you will not believe - once these now harmless coronaviruses were also deadly. They just "degenerated".
Like all respiratory viruses, SARS-CoV-2 seeks to reduce its lethality, since its most malicious strains quickly die along with the owner (sick), without spreading their copies to other people. The most elementary natural selection, only it proceeds very quickly - in a matter of years, and sometimes months.
From this it follows the logical conclusion that, becoming less dangerous, the virus becomes more infectious (contagious), because if a person carries the infection easily, on his feet, he will clearly transmit his strain to a much larger number of people in comparison with a seriously bedridden patient. It’s a paradox, but a fact: the more infectious the strain, the less dangerous it is, and vice versa. Therefore, one should not be intimidated by the news about the greater infectiousness of new strains.
The emergence of new strains (in the UK, Brazil), which have been announced, have not yet been associated with the effectiveness of already developed vaccines. In order for the vaccine to become less effective, the virus must be domatized to the point that its gene, which encodes the very s-protein for which immunity is formed as a result of vaccination, changes so that antibodies stop recognizing it. And this is not one year or even five years.
Therefore, for the coming years, the developed vaccines - whether ours, American or Chinese - will work.
- That is, no matter how much the coronavirus mutates, the vaccine will work?
- Not certainly in that way. Someday, the billionth generation descendant of the current coronaviruses will inevitably change radically, but, as I explained, it will already be a mild cold.
In addition, even if it happens that the vaccine becomes less effective, and the virus is still dangerous, it will be immediately tracked down. Experts will instantly decipher the changed gene or part of it and immediately "screw up" the new vaccine by simply inserting the gene of the latest version of the coronavirus into the DNA of the vaccine adenovirus. The issue will be resolved even before the effectiveness of the vaccine drops by at least 1%. The main thing is to have a platform for designing a vaccine, and we have more than one.
Everyone has long been accustomed to the annual update of flu shots, and flu is much more volatile than COVID-19! And every season this renewed vaccine does not fall out of the sky. It was developed and launched in the spring.
- Is all this panic intentionally fueled?
- Yes, to divide the world into zones of influence of the main powers that have developed their own vaccines. Now there are not many of these players, and they are frantically shaping the sales markets for their gold-bearing product - after all, having vaccinated Brazil and especially India, you can earn tens of billions of dollars in one season.Therefore, now you will hear: "Oh, something in country N has a new strain against which such and such a vaccine is no longer effective, but our and only our vaccine still guarantees immunity." This is black PR that always accompanies any competitive product. It has nothing to do with medicine and your health.
- Let's summarize, is the disease caused by the new strain of the virus still the same COVID-19?
- Regardless of the genome of the coronavirus, will the treatment regimens and protocols be the same?
- Of course not, they will be even more effective as you gain experience in treatment. Less than half a year has passed since we abandoned a number of drugs, replacing them with really effective ones.