Flemish care center killer of the outbreak puts the Colombian alternative in the spotlight

Flemish care center killer of the outbreak puts the Colombian alternative in the spotlight

2 shots

The virus is believed to have entered the ward of patients with advanced dementia through a visitor. The first infection was diagnosed in mid-July. More than two dozen residents and staff have tested positive so far. Seven of the 28 residents died, despite all receiving the BioNTech/Pfizer vaccine.

“I think there are two possibilities,” van Ranst says. “For example, with this alternative the vaccine protects less.” The second option refers to the fact that the population was vaccinated about six months ago. According to the Flemish virologist, the effect of the vaccine declines most quickly for this vulnerable group. “And we see it also with the flu shot: It only lasts for six months in older people.” However, van Ranst stresses that it is still too early to draw firm conclusions.

contamination after vaccination

In any case, current vaccines do not provide 100% protection against Covid-19. Statistically speaking, it is inevitable that a small percentage of people who are fully vaccinated will become infected and develop symptoms. But vaccination makes the chance of this much lower than not being vaccinated.

The older a person and the weaker their immune system, the greater the risk of developing the disease after infection. Certainly with the most contagious delta variant. However, it remains unclear to what extent this may apply to the Columbian variant.

There is no evidence of increased infection

Public Health England recently reported that no evidence was found that the Colombian variant is more contagious than the delta variant that is now prevalent. However, preliminary data suggest that current vaccines may not work well against B.1.621. But since only 37 infections have been detected in England, research into this variant is still in its infancy in the UK.

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“It may also be that the Colombian variant never really gained a foothold, just like the P1 variant from Brazil,” says field epidemiologist Amrich Bedjo. Because of all the hundreds of virus variants that have emerged, only a few have become dominant. Like now the delta variant (first found in India) and before that the alpha variant (first found in the UK).

The main concern of the delta variable

Research should show how dangerous B.1.621 is. Baidjoe: “Obviously the more contagious delta variant remains the biggest concern. But if you look at what happened in a Flemish nursing home, it’s a good idea to keep an eye on this variant.”

So this happens. The World Health Organization listed the variant as worrisome enough to monitor. This is a step lower than Variant of Concern (VOC) or Variant of Interest (VOI), because its potential impact is still not very clear. This also explains why the Columbian mutation is not yet named after a letter from the Greek alphabet. This only happens with VOC or VOI.

ECDC, the European RIVM, has the Colombian variant more definitely on their radar. Van Ranst: “There is no reason to panic, but there are concerns. Because the delta variant also started with a few cases and a few weeks later was responsible for more than 96 percent of all infections.”

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