“The Omicron 5 variant, which is more diffuse, can cause an undulating trend even anticipated, that is, with an increase, a descent and probably with a further ascent this winter. As far as summer is concerned, we don’t let our guard down too much, we use masks as if they were sunglasses, especially for frail people or for caregivers who defend themselves, also defend their families “, explains the health director of the Irccs Istituto Ortopedico Galeazzi on the San Donato Group website.
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“We were already on pre-alert for a rise in infections in the autumn, but the presence of this new Omicron BA.5 variant surprised us”, opens prof. Fabrizio PregliascoHealth Director of the IRCCS Galeazzi Orthopedic Institute, as well as Associate Professor of General and Applied Hygiene at the Virology section of the Department of Biomedical Sciences for Health of the University of Milan.
“This virus – underlines Pregliasco on the website of the San Donato Group – has an extreme contagiousness, even higher than that of measles and chicken pox, with an R0 that oscillates between 15 and 17: just think that the Wuhan variant had an R0 of 2.5, while the Delta of 7 !. These values represent the average number of secondary cases compared to an index case, therefore values that make it much more fearful (a person can infect another 15 or 17) “.
“The onset of this variant, a little more benevolent, but not too much (a mistake to consider it as a simple flu!) – continues Pregliasco – is an ‘adapted’ virus that replicates in the upper airways, then develops into a cold, headache and also a few cases of dysentery, but with lower disease outcomes. This is because most of the population got vaccinated or got sick or got vaccinated and sick and recovered. So a background of immune responses that, often and willingly, did not prevent the infection, but guaranteed a more banal course “.
“In this variant, at the moment, it is possible to identify an element of risk in the near future, undoubtedly due to a physiological increase which, in recent times, has led to a return to ‘normal life’ more concrete thanks to vaccinations, with fewer restrictions, less use of masks, but, consequently, with greater exposure to contagion, an important element that must always be taken into account ”, adds the professor.
“The Omicron 5 variant, which is more diffuse, can cause an undulating trend even anticipated, that is, with an increase, a descent and probably with a further ascent this winter. The virus, as it was born – continues Pregliasco – does not follow an ‘intelligent’ line, but are variations that take hold according to the improving characteristics from the point of view of the virus, due to its diffusive capacity “.
“The good news is that, according to a recent study, in the Micron 5, Long Covid is present, but in lower percentages than the other variants – continues the expert -. The real problem is that, with so many cases, the final result may be less in percentage terms, but higher in terms of absolute cases. This is what we should face in the future, because covid is not only the disease in the acute and severe phases, with parainfluenza symptoms, but also and above all the aftermath, like all infections “.
“I believe that the over 80s should definitely proceed with the fourth booster dose to give an extra boost to the immune response and memory T cells.
Presumably next autumn, vaccines for the Omicron variant will be available, using the latest virus as a basis, and a vaccination campaign similar to that of influenza will most likely be envisaged, with a recall proposal for all, but one that is more stringent for the frail ”, suggests Pregliasco.
“As for the summer, obviously, we don’t let our guard down too much, we use masks as if they were sunglasses, especially for fragile people or for caregivers who defend themselves, also defend their families. It is essential, for coexistence – concludes Pregliasco – to use the new viral drugs, in collaboration with your general practitioner who can prescribe and administer them especially to fragile subjects, in order to reduce and combat the most serious forms of the disease “.
June 22, 2022
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