Expert warns of double Corona wave in Austria

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The National Immunization Panel (NIG) comes into a discussion about the fourth Corona vaccination. It is known that when autumn comes, temperatures drive people indoors again. It provides the ideal breeding ground for the virus to multiply and cause another wave of infection – that’s what experience shows. Currently, the numbers are on the rise again. Therefore, would it not be advisable to advise vaccination now to forestall the impending autumn wave? This is against the background that the vaccine adapted to Omicron by Moderna seems to produce better antibody levels against the escape variants. In an interview published by the Newspaper, “Heute” pharmacologist Prof. Markus Zeitlinger of MedUni Vienna contends that a “smaller summer wave and a larger fall wave could be anticipated.”

Whether to get vaccinated now or in the fall depends on the timing of the last vaccination, according to Prof. Zeitlinger: “A booster is recommended after six months, and I’m in accord with that, too.” As antibodies decrease over time in everyone, so does vaccine protection. With booster vaccination, you get immune protection back to where it was. The virologist, Dorothee von Laer, will wait for the Omicron-adapted vaccine in the fall, as she announced in an interview in the “ZiB 2” on Thursday.

The new vaccine “mRNA-1273.214” presented by Moderna consists of half of the original Moderna vaccine “Spikevax” – approved in the EU – and half of a vaccine candidate tailored explicitly to the Omicron variant. The study results show an increase in neutralizing titers against Omicron of about 8-fold over baseline. The original vaccine, still tailored to COVID-19, increased neutralizing titers against Omicron by 4-fold. The neutralizing antibodies to Omicron were almost twice as high as the new vaccine. Moderna does not yet have data on the duration of protection provided by the new mRNA vaccine, nor has it received regulatory approval.

But the 8-fold increase does not translate 1:1 to “the vaccine protects twice as well,” the pharmacologist said. In epidemiology, a twofold increase is not a quantum leap; current vaccines are also well advised in this respect.

Individual protection prevails

Zeitlinger recommends not waiting for a specific vaccine because “vaccine development will always lag a bit behind what’s happening.” The expert is also cautious about the new vaccine. “It is uncertain how well this adapted vaccine will fit the rampant fall variant.”

For Zeitlinger, the individual risk of infection counts more than epidemiology because there is already primary immunization in the population. “So anyone who wanted optimal protection in the summer and was last vaccinated against Corona six months ago can get a booster now.” The current vaccine is adapted from the original Wuhan variant.

  • source: heute.at/picture: pixabay.com
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