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Coronavirus: Epidemiologist says vaccine ‘best thing that could happen’

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The vaccine is the best thing that could happen at the moment because the pandemic is surging across the globe, even in countries that did well during the first wave, microbiologist and molecular virologist Petros Karayiannis said Monday.

“As soon as the vaccinations start and 70 per cent of the population of country and globally are covered simultaneously, then the spread of the virus will be curbed, along with the difficult conditions we have been living under for the past 10 months,” he said.

On recent mutations of the virus, Karayiannis said any mutation was concerning, in this case allowing it to spread faster.

But “so far the data does not show that these mutations undermine the vaccine and that antibodies will not be effective,” Karayiannis said.

On the other hand, he added, the two vaccines currently being used, Pfizer and Moderna, can be adjusted quickly to tackle the mutations if necessary.

Karayiannis said the recent rise in cases was concerning, and expressed the hope that the vaccines would succeed in curbing these numbers in the long run.

“Only with restrictive measures can we curb the figures immediately and by implementing what we have been saying for some time now as regards self-protection, but also by implementing protocols at the workplace without fail,” he said.

He suggested that restrictions could be eased gradually but self-protection measures were expected to go on for the next six months at least.

Karayiannis said 70 per cent coverage is thought to prevent further spread of the virus but this could rise to 80 per cent or 85 per cent if more people want to vaccinate.

“But until we’ve reached that point, as I’ve said, it’s not the vaccine that will curb the positive cases but the restrictive measures, unfortunately.”

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