Berlin (dpa) – Virologist Christian Drosten sees Germany on the right track when it comes to vaccinating against Corona. After the initial difficulties, they are now at the forefront of European comparison, said the Charité scientist in the podcast “Coronavirus Update” at NDR-Info.
“It goes very quickly for us.” This would lead to a decreasing severity of the disease, so that sometime in the summer one would have to arrive at “a different view of the entire threat situation”. Drosten is currently still in a transition phase. Regarding the variant discovered in India (B.1.617), he emphasized: “You just have to get vaccinated as soon as possible. That’s the best you can do. “
Drosten still finds the contamination rate in the country and the impact of the easing difficult to estimate. The cause is the still uncertain data situation after the holiday, on which less laboratory tests are usually performed. It now remains to be seen how things develop, he said. However, until now he has not had the impression that all checkers are breaking with the opening steps. “I’m not worried about that right now.” In general, for example, outdoor catering is “certainly not that big of a deal” – especially since negative test results are a prerequisite in some places.
Drosten also contradicted claims that the number of infections in several countries decreased naturally and only because of the now higher temperatures. You can’t believe the temperature took care of everything. The virologist referred to the containment measures taken in other countries. When it is suggested that the measures were in vain, it was “unfair”.
About the spread of the variant discovered in India (B.1.617) in Britain, Drosten said there are still many uncertainties. It is feared that transferability will increase by up to 50 percent. However, Drosten referred to a number of potentially confounding factors. The current situation in the country is different from the end of 2020, when the mutant B.1.1.7 showed up. At that point, the winter wave had built up, while the third wave had slowed down sharply and many people had vaccination protection. B.1.617 was also recorded en masse from India – and unfortunately vaccination progress is known to be socially uneven.
A study recently showed that the vaccines from Pfizer / Biontech and Astrazeneca protect quite well against diseases with the variant discovered in India after double vaccination. Drosten said apparently “the first vaccination against this virus doesn’t help that much, so you have to finish it quickly.” The cards have probably been shuffled again for this variant – and you can only get ahead if you vaccinate completely. Great Britain had counted on the effect of as many first vaccinations as possible.
After the publication of his corona study on so-called viral loads in the well-known journal “Science”, Drosten also confirmed his opinion about the infectivity of children. As a clinical virologist, it was already clear from the first data that all age groups had about the same number of viral genetic copies. This impression has lasted. A preliminary evaluation from more than a year ago was much debated – mainly because of the conclusion that children can be just as contagious as adults.
The study also supports the assumption that a relatively small proportion of those infected are responsible for a particularly high rate of infections. As Drosten described, there are infected people of all age groups, including children, with exceptionally high viral loads. In the study, this related to about nine percent of the cases studied. According to the virologist, these include people who experience “significant” mild symptoms over the course of the disease. Even people without disease symptoms belong to them.
Given the risk of infection in healthy-looking infected people, the scientists emphasize the importance of measures such as keeping your distance and wearing a mask in their conclusion of the study. “Maximum virus shedding is one to three days before symptoms appear,” Drosten said of another result of the work. That is why the virus is so difficult to combat.