Doctor Tarkowski works in a team of researchers that isolated the coronavirus at the beginning of the pandemic in 2020, which was then a great achievement helping to learn about the new pathogen.
Together with other scientists, the Pole was awarded by the President of Italy, Sergio Mattarella.
In the interview, he emphasized: “We are currently in a situation in which the pandemic is influenced by various elements. Firstly, a month ago, most of those who were hospitalized for COVID-19 were unvaccinated people. vaccinated “.
SEE: USA. Seven doctors suffering from COVID-19. The infection was most likely from an anti-vaccine rally
At the same time, he made a reservation that the thesis that the immune response, and therefore immunity, decreases already six to seven months after vaccination should be carefully confirmed.
– It is known, however, – he added – that there is a large group of people, including the elderly, who undergo various types of immunosuppressive therapies. They respond much worse to vaccination, are less protected because they produce less antibodies – said the scientist.
– These people also probably have a smaller so-called immune memory; These are cells that remember contact with the virus during the second and subsequent contact with it and can react much faster – explained an immunologist from Milan in an interview with PAP.
“Immune protection is falling”
As he noted, perhaps due to the lapse of time after vaccination, many people have had their immune protection so lowered that they are again more susceptible to infection.
Also, as he emphasized, also the Delta variant contributes to the fact that even vaccinated people now go to the hospital.
SEE: Hong Kong. Infections during quarantine. Government Adviser on COVID-19 on “Selfish Masks”
– Nevertheless, vaccinations gave a positive effect, because there are definitely fewer critical cases than during the first wave and a smaller number of deaths – recalled Dr. Tarkowski.
He stated: “We are at a point where it seems that giving the third dose, especially to people with reduced immunity, the elderly, certainly makes sense, because it helps and restores immunity and allows much more protection.”
– Italy is the second country after Israel that approved the third dose of the vaccine and started administering it relatively earlier than in other European countries – he reminded.
The lack of herd immunity is the cause
When an immunologist was asked why he thought the theory of herd immunity was beginning to collapse, he replied, “This level has never been reached, and that’s one of the reasons.”
– The Delta variant also contributed to this. Remember that the vaccine is built on the sequence of the unmutated virus, and changes in amino acids can also make the antibodies and the immune memory that has developed, but based on a different sequence, a little less effective, he added.
SEE: Israel. Vaccinations against COVID-19 have started in children 5-11 years old
Maciej Tarkowski emphasized that the rapid vaccination of many people against COVID-19 is very important in order not to allow the virus to continue mutating.
“And so,” he noted, “it happened in the case of the flu; vaccination against it was started too late, and the virus escapes every year, mutates so much that we must always monitor what strain of the virus is most present in a given geographical region and prepare specific vaccines for this type. They are different in the USA and Europe, they have a different configuration – he explained.
It is too early, according to the researcher, to say whether this will be necessary in the case of the virus that caused the current pandemic.
Doctor Tarkowski drew attention to the massive research carried out in Qatar. There, they compared the antibodies of people who had had COVID and were then vaccinated with those who were only vaccinated or infected. The former group is much less susceptible to reinfection.
The difference, he said, is significant; the mixture of naturally produced antibodies plus the vaccine provides greater protection, rather than the antibodies themselves after infection or vaccination. This is “hybrid immunity”, that is, the link between natural immunity and vaccination, he explained.
– I am a living example of this. I have been through COVID-19 and am after one dose of the vaccine, and my antibody levels are really quite high, he said. He emphasized that such a group of people may wait for the next dose of the preparation, because it is more resistant, also to variants of the coronavirus.
– On the other hand, people who are after two doses of the vaccine, in my opinion, should take the third dose after 6 months. This is another safeguard, because even in healthy people, the level of antibodies drops quite well without any problems. Even these are not the antibodies that are so important in this case, but the most important thing is whether it is immune memory. Stimulating it with the third dose, especially in the current situation, is advisable – assessed Maciej Tarkowski.
wys / PAP