The virologist warns that, when we are 100% immunized, “this virus will continue to infect”, although he believes it will be like a cold
The veteran coronavirus expert points to the Chinese fur industry as the most likely origin of the pandemic
He believes that vaccines “will protect us from getting seriously ill for several years” thanks to T cells: “They don’t care if the virus mutates”
The German Virologist that has served as scientific reference throughout the pandemic in that country, Christian Drosten, has explained what he thinks is his most probable origin. It is just a hypothesis, he has no proof, but he formulates it forcefully from his extensive experience and knowledge of coronaviruses. “The breeding of carnivores. The leather industry ”. This was stated in an interview with the Swiss media Republik.
Drosten explains that with the first SARS, in 2003, it was documented that the animals that served as intermediaries between bats and humans belonged to species used in the Chinese fur industry, such as raccoon dogs, whose skins are exported to half the world.
“Viruses of the same species do the same things and often come from the same source,” he says, although he acknowledges that at this time no scientific publication has confirmed this hypothesis. So suggests that samples should be taken from these farms to perform PCR on the animals.
The fur industry and the growing demand for meat
The Animals prized for their fur are predators. They feed on small mammals. And the baby bat, weak, who sometimes fall helplessly to the ground, they are a easy prey. These predators are then captured and taken to farms, where the animals are in contact with human workers.
“Humans get more into areas that until recently were areas of wild animals, and we intensify livestock farming. Mankind’s meat consumption is on the rise. And the denser and larger the animal population, the greater the probability of that a virus, once introduced into that population, explodes and mutates, as SARS-CoV-2 has done”. To this is added, recalls Drosten, that “traveling makes it easier for a local epidemic to turn into a pandemic.”
“Misunderstanding” with group immunity
In the extensive interview with Republik, Drosten also warns about “The misunderstanding” that has occurred in this pandemic with group immunity. “It won’t work like thisIt was a misunderstanding from the beginning ”. It has been understood, he explains, that if 70% of the population is immunized, through the vaccine or infection, the remaining 30% will already be protected from the virus. “But this is not the case with this virus. Anyone who is not vaccinated will become infected with SARS-CoV-2 ”, he warns.
Drosten explains that the term “herd immunity” comes from veterinary medicine, where it was applied, for example, “with the rinderpest virus or the cattle measles virus”, with which that calculation could be made. “In an autonomous population of cattle, how many of the animals do we have to vaccinate so that the virus cannot circulate? “He explains that this is where this term comes from, but adds that “Humans are not a closed group, but we travel and there is a continuous exchange” between populations. And this is how viruses spread, according to its basic ability to spread ”.
He warns that “in a few years, 100% of the population will have been vaccinated or infected”, but “Even after that, this virus will continue to infect people”. Although those infections will no longer be serious. “Probably it will be a kind of cold ”, predicts the virologist.
Protected by cellular immunity
Because Drosten also highlights, in the interview, the importance of cellular immunity against this coronavirus. “The antibodies that protect us from infection disappear quickly, we can be re-infected relatively soon, especially if the virus has mutated, but we only get mildly ill”He insists.
Assures that “Vaccination is likely to protect us from getting seriously ill for several years” and explain why. “Those responsible are the so-called T cells, which has been talked about constantly for a year: unlike antibodies, they don’t care if the virus mutates: T cells can recognize it even if it has different characteristics ”, warns the virologist.
Virus mutations: have we seen it all?
Precisely about virus mutations, Drosten warns of something important. “The difference between virus variants that have appeared on different continents is not so great”. Therefore, when asked about possible more worrisome mutations in the future, the German virologist believes that “there are good reasons to suppose that SARS-CoV-2 does not have much more reserved than it has been able to show us so far ”.
He explains that coronaviruses mutate more slowly and with less force than, for example, influenza viruses, “which have a much greater pandemic potential.” And it’s very clear about the post-vaccination mutation landscape. “I can’t imagine a mutant suddenly making most of those vaccinated seriously ill again.”