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  • Underground during third national lockdown, London, U.K., Jan. 13, 2021.

    Underground during third national lockdown, London, U.K., Jan. 13, 2021. | Photo: EFE

Published 14 January 2021
Opinion

Over 280 million inhabitants in Europe are in total quarantine. Very high indicators of infection transmission continue to be observed in the region.

The World Health Organization (WHO) Regional Director for Europe Hans Kluge on Thursday confirmed that the British strain of the new coronavirus has been detected in 25 European countries including Russia.

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Although the possible consequences of this new strain are generating concern, he recalled that the new coronavirus "changes over time" just like any other virus. Therefore, European countries must devote more efforts to the genetic sequencing of this virus and increase the exchange of information.

WHO scientist Oleg Benesh pointed out that although "legitimate doubts" about the effectiveness of vaccines against the new strains could arise, there is no evidence that the acquired immunity does not protect against the new strains.

"The vaccine generates immunity against the virus antigens. This immunity is polyclonal, that is, it produces antibodies against different fragments and antigens of the virus. For this reason, we have the hope that the vaccines work and we do not have proofs of the contrary," he argued.

In 2020, in the European region, more than 26 million cases of coronavirus were detected and more than 580,000 deaths as a result of the disease. In the last week alone, however, 1.8 million infections were detected.

"Since the beginning of 2021, over 280 million inhabitants in Europe are in total quarantine... Very high indicators of infection transmission continue to be observed in the region," Benesh said.

However, the expert optimistically stated that the epidemiological situation will be more controllable and predictable in 2021, as 31 European countries have begun vaccination campaigns.

"Since 95 percent of all vaccines are concentrated in ten countries, we must work hard to achieve uniform vaccination in all nations. But we see the light at the end of the tunnel. This will be the case not only because of vaccines but also because of new technologies and the diversification of types of tests," he added.

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