The head of virology at the Berlin Charite, Christian Drosten, is “pretty worried” about the new Omikron variant. At the moment, no one can say “what’s in store for us. The only thing you can really say for sure, it’s better to be vaccinated. It’s even better when you’re boosted, “said Drosten in ZDF heute-journal on Sunday evening.
There is also concern that the Omicron variant is a real “immune escape variant”. Previous mutants would not have had this characteristic so strongly.
The next two or three weeks will show whether one might even have to change the vaccines. Technically, an adjustment is “relatively easy” to make. But it would take months before the first doses could actually be delivered: “We now have to work with the available vaccines, which are really very likely to protect against the severe course”.
“We also have to understand how it really is with the severity of the illness,” Drosten continued in an interview with Claus Kleber. “What we can’t say at the moment is how things are going with us.” Here in Germany, the virus has different conditions than in South Africa: “If it turns out that the severity of symptoms has been reduced here, for example, then we can all be quite relieved. But I’m very far from this view at the moment, “said the virologist.
“Our real problem is still the delta variant”
But other things are urgent now, stated Drosten: “We have to boost it as quickly as possible. Because our real problem is still the Delta variant, which we now have. “On the other hand, the Omikron variant, which is now coming from South Africa, is” a mini problem. “And the vaccine gaps have to be closed.” Absolutely. That is very important, because if you are not protected at all, you do not want to hit the Omikron variant. ”
However, he had doubts whether the inoculation of the booster doses could go fast enough at all. In Israel half the population was supplied with a booster, and only then did the incidence drop noticeably. From that, said Drosten, “we are far away”.
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So far, around 8 million have been boosted, but half of the local population would be over 40 million. “So it won’t be possible until Christmas”. His great concern is that there will no longer be enough beds in intensive care medicine.
At the moment it is true that a decrease in the severity of the disease can be observed. That means that one percent of the infected no longer have to be ventilated, as it was a few months ago, but that now goes to 0.7 percent 0.6 percent ”. But that the booster vaccinations take effect is a slow, slow process, which is why people continue to come to the intensive care units. “And that’s terrible.”
Source From: Tagesspiegel