Acad. Bogdan Petrunov is a leading specialist in the field of immunology and allergology in Bulgaria with a high international reputation. Long-term director of the NCIPD – from 1993 to 2010. Specializes in allergy and immunology in Czechoslovakia, England, France, the Netherlands and the United States. He is the founder of the first allergy laboratory in Bulgaria. Active member of the European Academy of Allergy and Clinical Immunology. See what he said to Maritsa:
– Can we treat covid without a vaccine?
– Definitely not, this is the world opinion of experts. Everyone is adamant that we must maintain these anti-epidemic measures until the end of the year so that immunization can be successful.
It is important for people with bronchial asthma and COPD to continue treatment with inhaled corticosteroids.
We will not be able to tackle the epidemic with anti-epidemic measures alone.
There is no way not to increase the number of infected after Christmas and New Year.
– Acad. Petrunov, is it a reasonable measure to send children up to 4th grade to school?
– I think it makes sense to go back to school, because scientific data show today that children from 0 to 11 years old contribute very little to the infection of adults. Of course, it must be considered whether and when older students can return to school.
– Should we expect a peak of the infected by the end of January?
– We have reason to think in this direction, because between Christmas and New Year, compliance with the measures against the epidemic was not at the level we all expected – despite the closure of hotels, restaurants. This leads me to believe that there is no way that there is no increase in the number of infected people. However, this will become clear in a week or two.
The experience we have with the sharp increase in the number of cases of infection and death after the summer holidays of 2020 makes me think that there is no way something like this will not happen after the previous winter holidays.
– Are allergic reactions to vaccination contraindicated?
– In the brief description of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine against COVID-19 and all those that are going to enter our market, allergic reactions are not mentioned as contraindications. On the contrary, anyone can be vaccinated safely if, however, they are calm and not in an acute allergic condition, regardless of the form of allergy.
It is very important for people with bronchial asthma and COPD to continue their treatment with inhaled corticosteroids. Corticosteroids are also used to treat covid infection as a potent anti-inflammatory agent.
Therefore, there is no contraindication to vaccination if the patient has not and has not had a severe allergic reaction to food, drugs, bees or stings in the past. Care should then be taken and the doctor should consider whether the patient can be vaccinated.
But I would recommend to anyone who has doubts that they are allergic and these are a lot of people – up to 30-35 percent of the human population today, it is better to be immunized under the so-called. anti-allergic umbrella. 3-4 days before immunization, on the day of immunization and 3-4 days after oral administration of antiallergics, which are widespread and known – xyzal, erius, claritin, zenaro.
My suggestion is that people who suspect they have or have had allergic reactions become immunized under the protection of these anti-allergic drugs.
– Can people with autoimmune diseases be vaccinated?
– The vaccine specification does not state that it is a contraindication. In such a disease, it is mandatory to consult a doctor, because most people with autoimmune diseases use drugs that suppress the immune system. In this case, it is not suitable for people to be vaccinated. First of all, if such a patient is in good, controlled condition, does not take immunosuppressive agents, he can easily be immunized after consulting the treating physician.
– Are allergic reactions that occur in people after vaccination normal or worrying?
– Such reactions are perfectly normal with all vaccines, as well as with the use of any preparations. And the cases of allergic reactions are negligibly small – 4 in one vaccine and the other two of this type of reaction, which in the context of 43-45 thousand immunization injections simply has no clinical value.
– Do you think people will be vaccinated en masse?
– Most people were skeptical at first, but with the gradual arrival of new batches of vaccines they will realize that this is absolutely necessary. For me, this is the most important thing. We will not be able to tackle the epidemic with anti-epidemic measures alone. They work hard, they depend on the subjective behavior of each of us. In order to achieve at least the desired collective immunity of 50-60 percent, in order to create such an immune layer that will lead to the suppression of the epidemic and its eradication, it will be necessary for a large part of the population to be immunized. Of course, I will be immunized. I was first on the list at the National Center for Infectious and Parasitic Diseases. We are waiting for our turn after the first line people of the Emergency Department are vaccinated first.
– How serious will the new mutations in the coronavirus be? Will vaccines be effective?
– This is a very big problem. There is no doubt that if mutations start to appear that affect the part of the virus from which the vaccine is produced, the enzyme found in the spine of the virus, then it is obviously necessary to make vaccines containing the new mutations. And this is an opportunity. And then it may be necessary, as with the flu, to get a new vaccine every year. But we have to see, at least until the end of the year, until the end of autumn, what will be the result of the current immunization, how long it will last and what the immunity will be. Then we can talk about it seriously.
– How long will the immunity last as a result of the vaccination?
The data available so far come only from a large-scale study conducted in Australia, published on 22 December 2020 in the world’s most prestigious immune journal – Science Immunology. Patients were monitored for 8 months, each with 36 tests to see how immunity changed. It turns out that after the 20th day, the antibodies begin to decrease, and by the third month it is almost absent. By the eighth month, however, cellular immunity is maintained, consisting of immune memory cells that retain the immune memory, as well as killer cells that destroy viruses or bacteria. Thus, in proportion to the data of the patients, it is considered that the vaccine, which “imitates” an artificial disease, will be active until the eighth month.
– Several vaccines are expected – will the jeep tell us which one to choose?
Vaccine is not like choosing a dress – whether it is red, green, short, long. The choice is determined not by preference, but by the vaccine business card, which describes its indications and contraindications. Every doctor will know them very well. And the doctor will be the one to advise you which vaccine to give you in view of your condition.
– Will we be able to face the covid test by the end of 2021?
– According to experts in all the scientific journals and websites I follow, by the end of the year we should see light in the tunnel. But this does not mean that the problem will be eliminated. It is believed that by the end of autumn we will probably have already seen the results of this mass immunization, which, I believe, will take place around the world.
I have received the opinion of 23 top immunologists and vaccinologists in the world – everyone approves of the vaccine, considers it a colossal achievement of science. But they are adamant that if we want to have a real result, at the same time we must maintain the main anti-epidemic measures until the end of the year: to wear masks, to wash our hands regularly, to avoid social contacts.
And for the strict measures, look at our neighbors – they are completely closed, they can not go out for no good reason. The most liberal regime was in Bulgaria – since March I have not seen anyone in Europe have a more liberal regime.
– Is this new normal, will we live like this from now on – in anticipation of another Kovid crisis?
– As a well-informed realist, I believe that we will live in this situation for a long time. We must get used to the measures and not take them as a terrible tragedy. Despite immunization, the coronavirus is unlikely to disappear in a year or more.
KOVID-19 is a typical biological phenomenon, it spreads to animals and can jump to humans.
I am opposed to any theories that the virus was released, that it was deliberately released – this is speculation without support. Bulgarians really like theories like the one Bill Gates wants to throw at us. As Mikhail Veshim, editor-in-chief of my favorite Starling newspaper, puts it – many vaccines have been given against KOVID-19, but no vaccine against stupidity.