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Czech biologist says COVID-19 Omicron variant has no problem defeating our immunity

6.1.2022 10:42
Czech evolutionary biologist Jaroslav Flegr (left) interviewed by Patrik Banga for ROMEA TV. (2022) (PHOTO:  Facebook page of Jaroslav Flegr)
Czech evolutionary biologist Jaroslav Flegr (left) interviewed by Patrik Banga for ROMEA TV. (2022) (PHOTO: Facebook page of Jaroslav Flegr)

At the start of 2022, COVID-19 data seemed to show the pandemic (of the Delta variant) in decline in the Czech Republic. However, indications are that COVID-19 infections are likely to increase here in the near future.

By mid-January, according to evolutionary biologist Jaroslav Flegr, the Omicron variant of COVID-19, which is currently spreading across Europe, will be dominant in the country. He also said the immunity that one gains from contracting a previous mutation of the disease is not effective against Omicron.

It is said that the B cells, which are in charge of human immune response, do not work against Omicron either. "B-cell mobilization takes several days when a person becomes infected. Omicron is terribly fast, it multiplies inside the body in just one day. B-cells and antibodies have no chance of defeating it," the biologist, who has already previously predicted the development of the pandemic in the Czech Republic with success, told news server Romea.cz in a video interview broadcast online on 3 January.

According to Flegr, the only way to handle this COVID-19 variant is to be fully vaccinated. That means receiving two doses of an mRNA vaccine plus a booster shot.

Just 64 % of the Czech Republic's population has been fully vaccinated. In Europe, the only countries with fewer vaccinated people are Poland, with 57 % of the population fully vaccinated, and Slovakia, where exactly half the nation has been vaccinated.

In France, for example, almost 80 % of all inhabitants have been fully vaccinated. Flegr believes the problem in the Czech Republic is people's distrust of the state.

"The state has always been our enemy. Although it has been more than 30 years since communism ended in our country, that animosity lingers on still in families. People do not trust the state, they do not trust science, they do not trust any authority figures. The consequence is that people believe what they read on Facebook," Flegr told ROMEA TV. 

According to the biologist, the Omicron mutation is less destructive to human health, but spreads faster as a result. The result can be complications in providing services or running mass transit, as people infected with COVID-19 will have to be quarantined.

That is confirmed by numbers from the country in the European Union that is currently the most afflicted - France. Authorities there have recorded over 200 000 newly-infected inhabitants in a single day more than three times since the start of the year. 

It is exactly the new Omicron variant that has infected 62 % of the newly-found carriers of COVID-19 in France. In Britain, the Government is asking managers of public sector services to test their emergency plans in case as much as one-fourth of the country becomes unable to work because of infection.

Flegr says the good news is that the Omicron variant could end the current scale of the COVID-19 pandemic. "It turns out that Omicron defeats immunity against Delta and other variants, but the other [known] variants can't defeat immunity against Omicron," the biologist told Romea.cz.

bng, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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COVID-19, EU, Facebook, France



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