“There is a low probability that covid will mutate and be more aggressive, but it can happen”

Hospital admissions have shown a sustained downward trend for a month, and Galicia has been away from the eighth wave for a month. “The situation is much better,” says Cristina Fernández, head of the preventive medicine service at the Clínico de Santiago hospital, who adds that “admissions in the region have decreased considerably, as have the staff with positive covid”. In fact, the latter is a fundamental indicator, because “now that there is probably an underdiagnosis of cases, well, we get an idea of ​​what is happening in the area due to the appearance of cases of covid among health personnel, at hospital level”. And, as he assures, these infections “have dropped by 75%”.

So you see that the eighth wave has calmed down. “Three weeks ago I was talking to a professional in the field of occupational health and around eleven in the morning she was already telling me that they had not called her for any positive cases among the workers, which a surprise, because we had a little bad moment, ”he explains. . And it is that, although nothing compares to what happened in the first wave, because now the cases and the disease are much more benign, “it has greater transmissibility”.

Fernández specifies that this ómicron BA.5 variant of the virus, already present in 90% of the detected cases, has “a more flu-like behavior, like a cold, perhaps with a little more headache and discomfort”. All this despite the fact that “barrier measures to prevent transmission and contagion have been greatly reduced”.

THE PEAK OF THE FLU CAME EIGHT WEEKS EARLIER THAN USUAL IN AUSTRALIA. For the doctor, one of the things that catches his attention the most about the behavior of the virus is the “loss of seasonality”, but not only of covid, but also of other types of virus, like the flu itself, since “In Australia, the peak of the flu came eight weeks earlier than usual”. “There is a strange behavior, I don’t know if it’s climate change or what it is, but there is a change in the shape of viruses,” explains the health agency.

PATIENT PROFILE: ELDERLY AND IMMUNO-SUPPRESSED PATIENTS TREATED WITH EVUSHELD. As for the profile of the patient admitted during the eighth wave – given that almost all of the deceased were and still are elderly – it was, as detailed by the head of preventive medicine at the CHUS, “elderly people, people with multiple disabilities”. pathologies whose virus has destabilized the clinical picture they already presented.

Although he also recognizes that “some immunocompromised young people have been admitted, that is, with a serious pathology that has caused the virus to coexist, die or be admitted to intensive care”. In fact, he assures that “these are the revenues that we basically had in intensive care during the eighth wave”. All vaccinated, nothing to do with the lack of protection.

Although they are immunocompromised patients with multiple pathologies, the response to vaccines in them is weak. This is why, as a reinforcement, “we already launched in April the administration program of a drug, Evusheld, which helps people with a weak response to the vaccine due to their immunosuppression situation so that if they are infected, they take the disease in a safe way.Fernández points out that this drug is administered to oncological, hematological and transplant patients.

“The drug is helping us, there are many clinical studies that have already shown its effectiveness in France and the United States, so it will surely help these most vulnerable people who are the ones who must be protected at the moment, in this virus as in another, another,” he says.

THERE WILL BE A NINTH WAVE. Finally, as to whether she expects the arrival of a ninth wave, the doctor hesitates to answer. “It’s quite a challenge to answer this question, I’ve been wrong so many times in this pandemic that sometimes you don’t know anymore,” he tells us. However, he believes that “the normal thing right now, with what we know about the virus, is that it is part of our usual endemic, with flu-like behavior.” Now, how many waves will there be per year? “That’s the big question,” as well as whether there will be another variant.

If so, could the virus become more aggressive? “I think the probability is low, but can it happen? It can happen. And that is why the population must be made aware of the need to protect the most vulnerable, because the economic damage that is caused if we stop again must also be taken into account. “Health is also about quality of life and having the means to be able to live it,” says Fernández.

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