‘Corona is far from over, we are on a roller coaster from a horror movie’ – Joop

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Group immunity would arise, the vaccines would protect us, corona would become less dangerous and slowly spread. It all did not come true, immunologist writes Danny Altmann in The Guardian† The authorities are talking about ‘learning to live with corona’, but that is really not a good recipe and not even doable now that the BA.4 and BA.5 omikron variants are on the rise.

Altmann notes that according to the latest figures, more than half a million people in Great Britain were infected last week. The number of people infected with corona is now estimated to be between 3 and 4 percent of the total population. “Many have become quite ill and have to miss school or work with the attendant disruptions to education, health care and other vital services. These infections will also increase the toll of lung covid cases. According to official statistics, the so-called ‘mild’ waves of omikron in 2022 created more than 619,000 new lung covid cases that are care-reliant and are a long and worthless legacy of the latest phase.”

Instead of building up a wall of immunity from vaccinations and infections, as expected, we are seeing wave after wave of new infections and a rapidly increasing long-term burden from this disease.

Altmann writes that the new variants BA.4 and BA.5 are more infectious and more successful in breaking through the resistance. Last week, he and colleagues published a new study showing that we are much less resistant to the new variants, even in people who have been vaccinated three times. The body produces up to 20 times less antibodies against the new variants. It also became clear that contamination no longer offers a guarantee against reinfection. People infected with one of the earlier variants are not protected against the new omikron variants. “In fact, even contamination with omikron is no guarantee against reinfection.” According to Altmann, reinfection can occur again within a few weeks of healing.

“Contrary to the myth that we’re slowly transitioning into a comfortable, evolutionary relationship with a cold-like, friendly virus, it’s more like we’re trapped on a roller coaster from a horror movie.” As an immunologist, Altmann says he is astonished at what the virus is capable of. He is deeply concerned about the impact of lung covid on society as significant parts of the working population become incapacitated for work.

The scientist also states that the booster strategy no longer works. He points to research showing that the effect of the fourth booster decreases even faster than that of predecessors. He has pinned his hopes on a new generation of boosters that may offer better protection, but points out that conducting large-scale trials is becoming increasingly difficult because the virus is developing so quickly. “The fight is far from over and we will have to actively learn how to deal with this. That requires a lot of commitment and ingenuity.”

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