Prof. Penka Petrova, Director of the Institute of Microbiology at the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences
A large part of the population will face the Omicron option, build immunity and this will be the end of the pandemic, said BTA Prof. Penka Petrova – Director of the Institute of Microbiology “Stefan Angelov” of the BAS.
According to them, Omicron is at least three times more contagious than the Delta variant, and it was more contagious than all other variants of the coronavirus. As a result, more students and young children in our country are now contracting the Omicron variant.
Second, schoolchildren and children are not vaccinated, resulting in more severe disease if infected, in contrast to vaccinated adults who are infected themselves, do not have severe symptoms and are therefore less likely to infect others. In addition, due to the easier course, many children and schoolchildren do not check for infection and are not quarantined.
In many cases, antigen tests give a false negative result. The short incubation period leads to an avalanche of infection and hundreds of thousands of people are already ill, although they are not recorded by the statistics, said Prof. Penka Petrova.
When asked when the peak of Omicron variants in Bulgaria is expected and when there will be a decline of this fifth wave of the coronavirus in Bulgaria, Prof. Petrova said that our country climbs higher on the “fifth wave” in the fourth week . Judging by the dynamics of the patients in the previous waves, there will be a decline two to three weeks after the peak of the wave has been reached. However, this peak has not yet been reached.
Both vaccine companies Pfizer and Moderna have told the World Health Organization that they will be ready to produce doses of their vaccines customized for Omicron in March. Most likely, these new vaccine variants will be given as booster doses. Although Omicron partially bypasses immunity, booster doses with previous vaccines work very well and greatly reduce the chance of infection. They completely prevent the severe course of the disease, said the director of the Institute of Microbiology of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences.
After the initial enthusiasm of many scientific organizations and countries to develop their own vaccine against COVID-19 when the number of prototypes reached 240, today only 24 different vaccines are being developed at the clinical trial level. 18 of these are in the approval phase or awaiting approval. They work on a different principle and cover the entire range of vaccine development options: from the “classic” approach, in which the vaccine contains the components of the whole virus, through RNA, DNA, adenovirus and protein vaccines. Prof. Petrova was confident that once the Nuvaxovid protein vaccine was approved, even the most skeptical would be convinced and want to be vaccinated.
She announced that the prototype of the Bulgarian vaccine against COVID-19, developed at the Institute of Microbiology of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, is ready and the project funded by the Alliance “Pasteur” has been successfully completed – with a report, with excellent ones results. Experiments in mice on this innovative peptide vaccine have shown that it is immunogenic and elicits an immune response, said Prof Penka Petrova.