insa.min-saude.pt

Delta variant represents 100% of Portugal’s virus infections – and mRNA vaccines are ‘least effective’ at tackling it

This is the conclusion of a new study coming out of Portugal’s public health institute Dr Ricardo Jorge.

It should be of no surprise to authorities here, given that studies coming out of the United States and UK have said exactly the same (click here). But at least now Portugal has unequivocally ‘caught up’.

In spite of the fact that US medicine’s regulator the FDA has this week given the Pfizer vaccine ‘final approval’ – leading to the jab becoming compulsory for the military there – it is not cutting the mustard when it comes to the Delta variant. Nor is the Moderna alternative, says INSA.

The institute’s investigation has not yet been peer-reviewed, explains SIC television news (not mentioning that the findings have to a large extent been borne out by earlier studies in other countries), but it has concluded that vaccinated people run a “significantly higher risk of infection by the Delta variant” than they would when faced with the Alfa variant (originally known as the Kent/ British variant and now practically ‘extinct’).

This sobering news comes as INSA has also been able to verify that the Delta variant is now responsible for 100% of current infections by SARS-CoV-2 in Portugal. (Beta and Gamma variants – emanating from South Africa and Brazil – are still at residual levels, and so far there are no new outbreaks of the Lamda variant, originating in Peru, and which also appears to render current vaccines ‘less effective’ than originally presented).

This is where people need to pause and consider the sense behind authorities’ insistence on ‘proof of vaccine’ in order to access certain venues. Even with two shots of vaccine, people are vulnerable to the Delta variant, which is responsible for 100% of the latest cases in Portugal (according INSA’s study taken during the week August 9-15).

So what is the good news? According to today’s reports, “a key finding of the study is that fully-vaccinated people have a lower viral load when infected by the Delta variant” than unvaccinated people, and therefore transmissibility ‘should be reduced’.

This last point has not yet been proven, however – and may not end up being correct bearing in mind the US study that emerged earlier this month (click here).

What is intriguing about the INSA study is that it lumps both mRNA vaccines (Pfizer and Moderna) together, when studies elsewhere have suggested that Moderna is actually more efficient and longer lasting than Pfizer (click here).

The bottom line is that neither of the vaccines appear to retain their efficacy against infection for longer than a few months which is why the debate is currently heating up over the need for booster shots, particularly for ‘the most vulnerable’.

natasha.donn@algarveresident.com