• Tue. Jan 18th, 2022

Covid, red Europe and Omicron variant: the news, the point about Italy

Byeditorial

Dec 3, 2021

Covid, Europe in alarm over the Omicron variant is tinged with red and dark red in the map of the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control. The only exceptions are Italy and Spain with some yellow areas still to resist the wave of infections. Meanwhile, while Germany launches the lockdown for non-vaccinated people with new restrictions, putting forward the hypothesis of mandatory vaccination, the ECDC takes stock of the new variant, speaking of “high to very high” risk for the EU area. But Omicron, explains the president of the Italian Virology Society, “could also mark the end of the pandemic fear”. Read also EU IN RED, UNIQUE ITALY AND SPAIN WITH YELLOW ZONES The map of the epidemiological situation in Europe published every week by the ECDC certifies that our country is, at least for now, in a relatively better condition than other European countries. Despite not having even a region in green, a color that indicates a low epidemiological risk, our country has 7 regions out of 20 in yellow (Piedmont, Tuscany, Umbria, Basilicata, Puglia, Sicily and Sardinia). Valle d’Aosta, Alto Adige and Friuli-Venezia Giulia, all three in dark red, the category that signals the greatest risk. The only other region in all of Europe that is still yellow is Extremadura in Spain. All the rest of the EU and the See (European Economic Area) is red or dark red, with entire countries in this second category (Iceland, Ireland, the entire Benelux, Austria, Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Croatia, Slovenia, the three Baltic States, Denmark). Much of Germany is also in the maximum risk range. The ECDC map takes into account only two parameters: the number of new Sars-CoV-2 positive cases recorded in the last 14 days for every 100 thousand inhabitants and the positive rate on the total of tests carried out. The Commission has proposed to include in the parameters also the vaccination rate against Covid-19.GERMANY: LOCKDOWN NO VAX AND MANDATORY VACCINE HYPOTHESISO Germany yesterday launched a new squeeze against covid infections: therefore the lockdown of non-vaccinated people is triggered. And the vaccination obligation is a hypothesis. With the announced turning point, only those who are immunized will be able to enter restaurants, museums, cinemas, cultural events and shops. This is what was decided in the meeting between the federal government and those of the individual Lander. The rule, already applied in some regions, will now be applied at the federal level, regardless of the incidence of cases. As for the closure of night clubs and discos, it will start with an incidence of 350 infections per 100 thousand inhabitants. At the moment, therefore, the measure should be in place, given that the average incidence in Germany is 439.2. The situation is “very serious”, declared Angela Merkel at the end of the meeting which was also attended by the next Chancellor Olaf Scholz. The obligation to vaccinate is a hypothesis on the horizon: the decision will be up to the Bundestag and Merkel assures that you would vote in favor if you were still a member of Parliament. Scholz has already said that the measure to make Covid vaccination mandatory will be voted on in Parliament. You will have to wait for the formal opinion of the Ethics Council first. If approved, the measure will come into effect next February. As part of the tightening launched to try to stop the new, violent wave of Covid, the audience for sporting and cultural events in Germany will be drastically reduced. According to what was announced after the meeting between the federal government and the prime ministers of the Lander, only 30-50% of the available places will be allowed. Europe “from high to very high” in addition to the hypothesis of a drop in immunity for vaccinated and cured of the virus. These are the salient data, the assessments and the conclusions reported yesterday by the ECDC, the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control, in the document which assesses the risk associated with the new variant (B.1.1.529), for the first EU / See update. “The presence of multiple mutations in the Spike protein of the Omicron variant of Sars-CoV-2 indicates a high probability of a reduction in the neutralizing activity by antibodies induced by” previous “infection or vaccination”, continues the ECDC. ‘hypothesis is that there may therefore be a decline in immunity of vaccinated and cured, but it is not clear how much. “Preliminary data – explains the ECDC – suggest that Omicron could be associated with an increased risk of reinfection in South Africa. However, in the absence of data on in vitro neutralization, data on vaccination efficacy and further data on reinfection in populations exposed to different variants of SARS-CoV-2 during previous waves, the extent to which Omicron evades or erodes immunity derived from vaccine or previous infection remains uncertain. “What is the risk associated with the further introduction and spread of the Omicron variant of SARS -CoV-2 in the European Union / European Economic Area? “On the basis of the limited evidence currently available and considering the high uncertainty – explains the ECDC -, the overall level of risk for EU / See countries associated with Omicron is rated as high to very high”. “The evidence of initial cases of this new variant that has been gathered from around the world is limited – it still reads – but suggests that Omicron may be associated with greater transmissibility than Delta, although solid evidence is still lacking. Remarkable remains. uncertainty regarding the vaccine efficacy, the risk of reinfection and other properties of Omicron. Based on these factors, the likelihood of further introduction and dissemination in the community of the new variant of concern is currently assessed as high, “he argues. Ecdc. “Current estimates of the severity of the Omicron-associated infection remain” highly uncertain. The evidence currently available raises serious concerns that Omicron may be associated with a significant reduction in vaccine efficacy and a increased risk of reinfection. The degree of protection against serious illnesses conferred by previous i is not yet known with Omicron infection or vaccination. The EU / See countries are still facing “the effects” of the high number of Delta cases – continues the ECDC -. The impact of the further introduction and spread of Omicron could “, also because of this,” be very high, but this situation needs to be assessed as more information emerges. “” Current evidence on transmissibility, severity “of the disease “and immune escape are highly uncertain for the Omicron variant of concern” of the pandemic coronavirus. “However, preliminary data from South Africa suggests it may have a substantial growth advantage over the Delta variant. In that case, the mathematical models indicate that Omicron is expected to cause more than half of all Sars-CoV-2 infections in the EU / European Economic Area within the next few months, “explains Ecdc.” The greater the growth advantage of Omicron compared to the Delta variant and its circulation in the EU / See – we read – the shorter the expected time before Omicron causes most of all Sars-CoV-2 infections “. mutation, “the number of countries reporting cases of the Omicron variant of SARS-CoV-2 continues to increase globally, with a total of 352 confirmed cases reported from 27 countries,” according to an update at 4pm yesterday, December 1. This number includes “70 confirmed cases reported by 13 countries of the European Union / European Economic Area”. “Most of the confirmed cases – the ECDC reiterates – have a history of travel to Southern African countries” and some of them “took connecting flights in a Other destinations between Africa and Europe. Several European countries have already reported a subsequent community or domestic transmission “. Once again, the ECDC specifies that” all the cases for which information on severity is available were asymptomatic or mild “and that,” to date, there are no there have been serious cases and no deaths reported among these cases “.” OMICRON COULD SIGN THE END OF THE PANDEMIC FEAR “But the Omicron variant” could also mark the end of the pandemic fear “Arnaldo Caruso, president of the Italian Society of Virology ( Siv-Isv). It could, in fact, be the beginning of the phase awaited by the scientific community around the world: a peaceful relationship between man and Coronavirus. Because “if the new variant is really more transmissible, but less aggressive, it could be the adaptation of Sars-CoV-2 that we were waiting for “. But the scenario appears realistic to those who know” the history of all viral infections, especially respiratory ones. They explode in a striking way, then slowly the host reacts, the virus adapts and starts a sort of coexistence between the two “. University of Brescia and director of the laboratory of microbiology of the Asst Spedali Civili – Assuming it has an intelligence, it is in fact better for the virus not to eliminate the host by behaving aggressively, but more to live with it “, to become better at infecting it and exploiting its organism to multiply and continue to circulate. “The more it gives few symptoms or even no symptoms – Caruso points out – the more a virus has the possibility to transmit itself, to continue its run and to prevail in its most contagious, faster but milder form, on all the other variants “. This is perhaps what is happening,” even if to date the available data are few and everything is yet to be verified and understood “, warns the number one of Italian virologists ani. And to do this, he specifies, it will be necessary to take Omicron and look inside: “A virus that enters the target organism more quickly, but is less capable of making it sick, has generally modified not only the Spike protein, but also many of its internal proteins. which are the ones that play a major role in determining its aggression. And that’s where we should go looking to understand what happened, looking beyond the Spike protein “, into the ‘heart’ of Omicron.

One thought on “Covid, red Europe and Omicron variant: the news, the point about Italy”
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