Humberto Debat, virologist and Country project researcher for the study of the genome of the SarsCov2 virus, Humberto Debat, referred in dialogue with EL LIBERAL to a recent study conducted by the UK Health Security Agency (Ukhsa in English), yesterday, in which summarized results, effects and evolution of the variants involved. differ within the population in aspects such as the effectiveness of the vaccine, the symptoms and the age of those infected.
The study referred to by Debate compares, for example, the symptoms of different variants such as Delta and micron. In this sense, virologists point out that “there is an important difference between patients infected in this period with Delta and with Omicron, a relatively strong reduction in symptoms of loss of smell and taste, detected only in 13% of Omicron cases against 34% of detected cases. with Delta.”
In turn, he pointed out that “there was a very strong increase in sore throat as an important marker associated with Omicron in the sense that 53% of infections by this variant were associated with this symptom in contrast to 33%% of those infected by Delta.” conclusion of the study.
On the other hand, he stressed that the same report warns of a “substantial and unprecedented increase in pediatric hospitalizations in the UK during the pandemic in terms of the number of children admitted and a 3-fold increase in the number of hospital stays in two weeks: From 26/12 onwards is in line with the important Omicron wave. This is not a peculiarity of the variant itself, but something driven by the very significant number of infections the country has had, but it is a record pediatric hospitalization in the entire pandemic.”
The debate points out that “the majority of hospitalizations are children under 5 years of age, which would be consistent with the age range that has not been immunized. They – in the UK – have just started vaccinating children between 5 and 11 years old. on 22/12, they made the decision to vaccinate children relatively late in the context of the wave of infection they were experiencing.”
Virologists also point to the fact that the report presents the first data on the effectiveness of the vaccine against Omicron. He points out that “these are promising results, but should be taken into account because they relate not only the effectiveness of the vaccine but also the number of doses, to the infection data.”
In this sense, he points out that “what they saw was in people with a single dose, 58% protection against severe cases. Those with two doses, if the second was applied between the last 2 and 24 weeks, the protection was 64%.” But if it is more than 25 weeks after application of the second dose, effectiveness against microns drops to 44% in severe hospitalizations.”
Likewise, Debate asserts that “the effectiveness against microns increases considerably with the booster dose. If applied between 2 and 4 weeks, the effectiveness increases to 92%. However, over time, this effect decreases and those who receive the booster are more than 10 weeks old. then, its effectiveness drops to 83% protection.
He points out that “these are very important data because they reflect the impact of this variant on protection against severe cases, with a significant and promising reduction in effectiveness in terms of using booster doses to reverse this waning immunity with time”.