Virologist and Gecko member Andreas Bergthaler talks about the extent of contagion and pathogenicity of the new variants, the four scenarios of autumn and how the government has lost confidence in the population due to incorrect communication.
“There is no excuse for the fact that Austria is still in such a poor position when it comes to the availability of correlated data, because with this data we will have a very valuable tool at hand to question and prove the effectiveness of the measures,” says virologist Andreas Berthaler, Professor of Molecular Immunology. Head of the Institute of Hygiene and Applied Immunology at the Center for Pathophysiology, Infectious Diseases, and Immunology at the College of Medicine University of Vienna And a member of the crisis coordination gecko. “If, for example, a new variant appears in Denmark, health authorities there can trace how infected people arrive after two or three weeks. This allows clinical courses to be quickly identified and vaccination protection. This is still not possible in Austria.”
Regarding the coming fall, the most ambiguous factor or the greatest challenge “cannot necessarily be found on the side of the virus, although the four scenarios indicate exactly that. Rather, it will also depend on our behaviour, social cohesion and communication. Because we are already in a crisis Communication “.
As for the new Omikron BA.4 and BA.5 variants, he doesn’t have any good news. It spreads rapidly in Austria and, due to its multiple mutations, is nearly as contagious as measles, which is transmitted both through the air and through direct physical contact (particularly with nasal and throat secretions).
Interview with Andreas Berthaler:
Die Presse: The Omicron variant, ie BA.1, was two to three times more infectious than Delta, which was already 60 percent more infectious than Alpha, which in turn was twice as infectious as the wild type from Wuhan. Then came BA.2, which is almost as contagious as BA.1. BA.4 and BA.5 are now prevalent, there are only slight differences between the two sub-variables of Omicron. What is the amount of contagion between these two variables?
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