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Patient with influenza COVID-19 is not threatened: virologist spoke about the relationship of viruses and quarantine

Returning to the harsh quarantine that was in the spring is the wrong way: when everyone is locked up, immunity is not acquired. If a person gets sick with the flu, he cannot simultaneously get sick with COVID-19, but the flu should not be considered a salvation from COVID-19, writes Obozrevatel.

Photo: Shutterstock

Any new vaccine should be tested for efficacy and adverse reactions before widespread use. Immunity to COVID-19 is formed due to a general biological pattern. Alla Mironenko, a virologist, MD, told about this.

According to the expert, strict quarantine is “a somewhat erroneous path”. The flu epidemic will happen as it does every year, and it is difficult to predict what it will be. But as long as there is no circulation of the influenza virus, which also causes a massive spread of the disease, children have a “chance to get sick,” the virologist said. At the same time, it is important to adhere to this behavior in families so that children cannot infect their grandparents.

When children gain immunity, the doctor is convinced, this will be a certain “immune layer” of society that will protect other people. All countries in the world are especially interested in protecting the elderly, people with chronic pathologies.

According to the World Health Organization, 29% of the world's population is children under the age of 18, but in this age group, from 1% to 3% of cases of COVID-19 are registered in different countries. That is, in children, the disease is either asymptomatic or asymptomatic. And when they have already been ill, they provide others with an immune layer, notes Alla Mironenko.

“You can't hide all your life. Until we have a vaccine, this is exactly the model of behavior that should be, - says the expert. - It is necessary to act this way not when the flu is present and COVID-19 will not disappear anywhere, but now, while at least there is no flu. But it is necessary to teach parents and grandparents to treat their grandchildren in such a way as to understand that a child can be a potential source of infection. ”

On the subject: Flu vaccine during the COVID-19 pandemic: do or not

The doctor opposes the restrictions and orders on the need to stay at home, believing that if everyone is locked up, no one comes out and does not communicate, "this is not life." In addition, isolation, according to the expert, does not contribute to obtaining immunity from the disease. Immune defenses in a society will not develop if people are not in contact with each other.

Alla Mironenko explains that the behavior model dictates how the disease spreads in society. If you take the data for Japan, which has 125 million people in a tiny area, you can see that there are fewer patients and deaths than in Ukraine, despite the sufficient amount of testing. The Japanese are not closed, they have a different culture of behavior: masks in public places were used there long before the pandemic.

One of the theses that have already been voiced among the expert community is that influenza can crowd out the coronavirus. How can these viruses interact? The expert believes that the new one will win. For example, if there is a threat of the circulation of two viruses, then the newer for us is not the flu.

Both viruses usually do not enter the same cell, the doctor explains. Influenza affects the upper respiratory tract and can affect the lungs. Coronavirus too. Therefore, viruses will compete for the same objects. When a person is already infected with the flu, they cannot be infected with the coronavirus at the same time. And vice versa. Because the protective protein interferon is secreted, which prevents other viruses from starting.

But it is important to know that influenza is a rather conditional “protection” against coronavirus. Especially because elderly people die from influenza pneumonia as often as from COVID-19. If a middle-aged person has caught the flu, then while he is sick, he will not be able to contract the coronavirus. But after recovery it is quite possible.

British pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca has suspended the third phase of vaccine trials after discovering a side effect. During large-scale tests, one of the volunteers became ill and fever. According to Alla Mironenko, it is impossible to predict in advance whether vaccination against COVID-19 will be successful and without side effects. This must be proven by tests on volunteers.

Now the whole world is waiting for a vaccine, but it must be tested so that everyone is sure that there are no side reactions and it is effective, that we will not be vaccinated in vain. These are two things for a vaccine to be definitively clarified before it can be used by the general public.

Possibly, groups of people with health conditions for which vaccination should not be given will be identified. The first is allergies. Someone may be allergic to the ingredients in the vaccine. The vaccine contains excipients that can be different depending on the manufacturing technology. Usually, the percentage of people who may have some kind of special reaction is small, the specialist explains. But this does not mean that you do not need to be vaccinated. If side effects are systematically observed, then, of course, the vaccine will not be allowed. But we still need to find out how effective it is.

On the subject: Swine flu: how Americans were vaccinated during a pandemic and how this experience is useful

Now there is a lot of talk about the fact that protection against coronavirus is formed for 3-4 months, and then the immunity seems to disappear. The doctor explains this by a biological pattern. According to her, the protective antibodies that are detected by tests - enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay or rapid tests - a person does not carry his whole life in himself. He does not carry all antibodies to all the antigens he has encountered.

This is present for some time, then these proteins are destroyed, but memory cells remain, which then save us. Because memory cells at the next contact with a virus to which they were vaccinated or if a person has been ill, produce, give a signal to produce antibodies in large quantities. This is called a secondary immunological response.

Antibodies are quickly formed, a person cannot get sick. Antibodies can be destroyed, but a person always carries memory cells.

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