COVID-19 : A CSIC expert predicts when normality will return

Vicente Larraga, researcher of Margarita Salas Biological Research Center in the Higher Council for Scientific Research (CIB-CSIC), gave an interview to the agency’s website to assess the current situation of the pandemic and the future that awaits us.

According to the expert, “The logical thing is that the pandemic decreases a lot from this summer and that in Spain it is practically finished by the end of 2021. That would be normal. I’d say we can go back to our normal lives next fall. “

Vaccination rate

“We’re having some problems with vaccination, we should go faster, but by autumn there should be a high number of protected people and then the virus will forcibly decay. Also, even if new strains emerge, the disease tends to fade. It has happened in all epidemics throughout history, Why is it going to be any different now? “, Larraga adds.

Regarding vaccines, the scientist points out a basic objective: “It has to reach the greatest number of people, and especially the most disadvantaged. It is often forgotten that as long as these people are not protected, neither are we. For now we are solving the pandemic in the western worldbut the disease will continue at least for 2 or 3 years, we know that. “

The manufacture of vaccines in our country

For this reason, Larraga insists on Spain’s need for “keep making vaccines. This goes for a long time and we cannot depend on the outside because the interests of others do not coincide with ours. From the ability to manufacture masks to vaccines, Spain must be reindustrialized, and that reindustrialization must be based on innovation. This is achieved with research. In the 21st century, if you don’t have the knowledge, you are going to be a very subsidiary country. I don’t have a mania for bars, but it’s time to change the model. “

The Spanish remedy

On the CSIC website, the specialist It also offers details on the situation of the Spanish remedy: “Theoretically, we are finishing the preclinical phase of animal testing. I say theoretically because when you work on a vaccine you never know what the next step is going to be like. This is an endurance race. We will continue with these studies for about another month. When we have all the data, I hope it will be early spring, we will go to the European Medicines Agency. If approved, we would start human testing and, if all went well, by the end of the year we would have the vaccine finished. “

Therefore, Larraga shows their optimism that a vaccine developed in our country can be commercialized: “I even think 2 or 3 will be able to go on the market, hopefully one of them is ours or that of my CSIC colleagues. I think we offer something different. If we present a good A vaccine that covers a new niche will be interesting for one of the big pharmaceutical companies. “

Can be remade in three weeks

Likewise, it reveals the added value of the antidote developed in its institution: “It is not necessary and it is an additional advantage because, If current vaccines stopped working with more resistant strains, we could make a new one in three weeks; we would only have to take the protein sequence of the new strain, build a gene that codes for it and do the same again. We would modify the new sequence on the computer and skip the previous work. Being a synthetic vaccine, it is more flexible and can be easily adapted. Its other strong point is temperature. “