The virologist expert in coronavirus and vaccine design of the National Center for Biotechnology (CNB-CSIC) Luis Enjuanes has assured that, of the three variants that are pathogenic for man and that appeared in 2002, 2012 and 2019, the latter “does not cease to surprise” because it has acquired “a small fragment in the protein of the spicules that facilitates the infection of virtually all tissues of the human body “, in contrast to the previous ones, which allows it to cause” any type of pathology “, not only respiratory.
This was revealed during a conference within the framework of the conference ‘The coronavirus pandemic and its impact’, organized by the Royal Academy of Exact, Physical and Natural Sciences (RAC) and the Spanish Society of Virology (SEV).
He also added that “viruses are good strategists and there are those who devise systems to neutralize the host’s defenses (the so-called innate immune response, which is the first to emerge in three or four hours). “According to the expert, it has been observed that in at least 14% of In infected patients, the virus causes people to produce an autoimmune reaction that induces antibodies to interferon, resulting in overrides the first and main defense system that acts in the first hours.
For his part, the vice president of the RAC and virologist of the Severo Ochoa Molecular Biology Center, Esteban Domingo Solans, has stated in this regard that the current situation supposes “a double scientific and social challenge, due to a little-known virus and a globalized and hyper-connected planet in which it is difficult to identify rigorously contrasted information “.
The efficacy and safety of vaccines
On the other hand, the doctor Agustin Portela, from the Spanish Agency for Medicines and Health Products (AEMPS), expert in the processing and approval of vaccines and advisor to the European Medicines Agency (EMA), has stressed that both institutions “guarantee to society that drugs and, in in particular, vaccines, comply with the guarantees of quality, safety, efficacy, information and accessibility adequate “.
Thus, during his talk, the specialist wanted to highlight that this process “is not being done at the expense of the quality of the vaccines not being guaranteed”, since the procedures that have been used so far to guarantee it “has not changed“.
In this sense, he has emphasized that, in the same way as with other already approved vaccines, in this case they must also be obtained evidence from clinical trials ongoing to ensure the efficacy and safety of vaccines against coronavirus.
No date for the vaccine
When talking about when a vaccine against COVID-19 will be available in Spain, Dr. Portela recalled that, for now, contracts have been signed with three pharmaceutical companies that ensure the availability of at least 800 million doses to cope with the pandemic and negotiations are under way with others for additional doses.
“All these doses will be distributed in the European Union as they become available and based on the population of each country,” he said. However, “no specific date can be given in which the different vaccines will be able to be used, since, in the first place, they have to complete all their clinical studies and later be evaluated and approved by the Drug Agencies “.