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Covid vaccine, Rasi against fourth dose: “Now it doesn’t make sense”

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“I wouldn’t say” it’s time for the fourth dose of Covid vaccine. “It makes no sense to keep the immune system continuously activated. We have a memory that helps us even when the antibodies drop. It may not be able to avoid infection, but serious illness will. In any case we cannot go on with vaccination campaigns. mass every few months. It is not sustainable. We should think of a more structured response “. This is the reflection of Guido Rasi, consultant to the Commissioner for the Covid emergency Francesco Paolo Figliuolo, and former executive director of the European drug agency Ema, who in an interview with ‘La Repubblica’ explains why it is not so obvious that you come so quickly to a new call. “The third dose, unlike the fourth, has a strong motivation”, observes the immunologist of the Tor Vergata University in Rome. There were doubts even before launching this first round of boosters but, the expert points out, “Omicron has arrived in the meantime. And we did well to change our mind, because today the third dose is defending us. Acceptance in Italy is It has been very good, with over 26 million vaccinated since November. We know well from the vaccines we traditionally use that three doses consolidate the immune memory response, and reality is confirming it. The fourth dose, on the other hand, asks us more questions than answers. at the moment I would recommend it to immunocompromised people, to cancer patients, to those who have a rapid reduction in antibodies because they are on dialysis “. Rasi also explains that “we never go back to square one” with our anti-Covid defenses. “The antibodies drop as they naturally should. But the immune memory, the cellular response, still remains active today. The fourth dose will be safe, but it is not taken for granted that a continuous and repeated stimulation after a while will not create problems for the immune system. “. For the immunologist, however, a “more structured response” is required. That could go from creating “spray vaccines that produce immunity in the mucous membranes of the respiratory tract, for example. Or that are easy to take, for example orally as with polio. Or vaccines that recognize other virus proteins,” more stable than the spike that changes rapidly “. As for the prospect of a vaccine for Omicron, he adds: “I would think twice today about introducing a new vaccine. It will take time not so much to create it, but to produce it in huge volumes and distribute it. In the meantime, the variant landscape may have changed a bit. new. Current vaccines, when given in three doses, remain effective against Omicron. It is right now to use those. ”

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