Covid: yes or no vaccine, Centaurus, the role of pollution

from Laura Della EasterLaura Della Easter

1. Can someone who has already been infected avoid the vaccine?

2. What do we know about Centaurus?

3. Does air quality affect the spread of Covid?

1. Can someone who has already been infected avoid the vaccine?

From a scientific study by the Altamedica research institute, which will be presented at the congress of the Italian Society of Human Genetics, it emerges that those who have already contracted the virus no longer need a vaccine. Research has shown that the immunological memory for Convid persists for a long time, indefinitely. B lymphocytes are ready to reactivate immediately when they come into contact with the virus again, transforming into plasma cells which will then generate specific antibodies.

In the study it is said that there is no comparison on the effectiveness of natural immunity compared to modest and limited post-vaccination immunity. Vaccines are only active against a part of the virus, the spike protein, while natural antibodies are active against the whole virus and therefore do not fear variants.

We asked prof. Paolo Gasparini, one of the leading genetics experts in Italy, president of the Italian Society of Human Genetics, an opinion on this study. Who replies:

We could say that hot water was discovered. Virus infection usually creates immunity. In the specific case, Covid generates continuous variants and therefore depends on whether these go to pierce the immunity created in those who have been infected previously. Numerous scientific publications show that after the infection, the subject develops a natural shield that in many respects is better than the vaccine one. The duration in time depends on how the virus behaves, that is, if it generates new strains. I make my own case. I took Delta and for about a year and a half I was protected, but then last June, I again had Covid in the Ba.5 variant, the currently most widespread one. Natural immunity allowed me to feel comfortable until a very contagious variant arrived. I got sick but mildly.

So you can get infected again but without ending up in the hospital?

On the basis of numerous studies and case histories, subjects who have developed natural immunity due to the contagion, if they reinfect, have less severe clinical manifestations and consequently they are unlikely to be hospitalized. This does not exclude that in some situations there may be a very high fever, for several days.

But then who has had Covid, must they get vaccinated with the fourth dose or not?

The answer is linked to various factors: theage first. We know that the virus has hit fatally, especially those over 70. Another factor to consider is the presence of comorbidities, that is, if the subject is diabetic, hypertensive, obese or has a risk of another type. Outside of these situations, for those who have had an infection with Omicron BA.5, that is the latest variant, it makes no sense to vaccinate with a product designed on the first strain, that of Wuhan, which no longer exists and on the first variant. Omicron.

What if Centaurus arrives?

At the moment this variant has manifested itself in India and sporadically elsewhere. Before being alarmed, it should be shown that Centaurus has become dominant and that it carries serious problems.

2. What do we know about Centaurus?

There is great attention among scholars for the diffusion of the variant BA.2.75, nicknamed Centaurus. We wonder about the expansion capacity and whether it will succeed in supplanting Omicron 5, which is now dominant, in the coming months. One of the most qualified and recent studies is Italianpublished inEuropean Journal on Internal Medicine by the University of Insubria.

Centaurus’ main feature is its own high transmissibility. It is capable of binding to human cells 3,000 times better than the Alpha variant. It first appeared in India in May, then was tracked in other countries. In Italy only rare cases. At the moment there is no talk of massive diffusion. Scientists believe that in its expansion, it is gaining information to strengthen the ability to better attach the spike protein to human cells. A study from Imperial College London and Zurich Polytechnic says its ability to escape antibodies is no greater than Omicron5. As for lethality, there is not yet enough data to tell.

3. Does air quality affect the spread of Covid?

Air quality appears to affect the spread and persistence of Covid. A new international research conducted by the Italian Society of Environmental Medicine (Sima) in collaboration with the Faculty of Medicine of the prestigious Complutense University of Madrid and the University of Sannio, and published in the journal Environmental Research shows how the intensity of Covid infections, hospitalizations and mortality are also linked to the intensity of air pollution and the extent or otherwise of green areas. “It is further proof that the environment directly and significantly affects our state of health” says President Sima, Alessandro Miani.

The relationship between incidence, hospitalizations or deaths from Covid and the presence of public green areas in 10 Italian cities and 8 Spanish provinces with more than 500,000 inhabitants was analyzed (for Italy Rome, Bologna, Catania, Florence, Genoa, Milan, Naples, Palermo, Turin and Venice). Net of the different contagion dynamics linked to population density, the results of the study show how the impact of Covid was lower in those urban areas that boast a greater extension of public parks and lower average annual concentrations of pollution. An increase of one square kilometer of urban green areas per 100,000 inhabitants corresponds to about 68 fewer infections among the population, 1 hospitalization saved and 115 deaths avoided.