The cause for concern is the fact that the coronavirus acquired practically most of the possible mutations, which in our modeling predicted its increased ability to transmit between people, said Dr. Maciej Tarkowski, an immunologist from the infectious diseases department at the University of Milan. He admitted anxiety about the newest variant, the Omikron, might be right.
“Now we have to wait to be able to determine whether this virus is even more virulent than Delta and whether it has a greater transmission potential. But hopefully not” – added the Polish scientist from Lombardy. He admitted that the emergence of new variants is “a real totalizer”.
When asked if there was any cause for concern, he replied: “There is certainly cause for concern, but we will have to wait to see if this will turn into a global problem and if Omicron will supersede Delta.”
“Earlier this year, there was a case of a new variant of the virus in San Diego in the US that spread in the thousands but didn’t eventually spread,” Dr. Tarkowski noted.
This, in his opinion, may mean that the experts in Italy and South Africa, who are soothing, are right.
“But the World Health Organization is also right, because as it stands guard over global health, it must warn and rightly assign this virus the status of a VOC, i.e. a worrying variant” – he assessed
“We have to be patient. I understand that for everyone – including me – who have already planned trips and visits for Christmas or need certainty about the days without restrictions for normal functioning, this patience is put to a hard test” – he admitted.
“In a few weeks, the research will tell us in which direction this new variant is headed,” he emphasized.
Referring to the issue of childhood immunization currently being considered in Europe, Dr. Tarkowski said: “Unfortunately, it turns out that children are also very vulnerable to the consequences of SARS-CoV-2 infections.”
“Therefore, I understand that the decision to include this group is justified and especially has grounds, because the virus continues to mutate,” he admitted.
Maciej Tarkowski is in the group of the research team that isolated the Italian strain of the coronavirus. This made it possible to compare its variant with the virus isolated from Chinese patients and further research into how both variants mutate.
From Rome Sylwia Wysocka