MOSCOW, September 28. /TASS/. Russia's COVID-19 vaccination campaign may end before the winter provided that herd immunity is achieved, but the coronavirus issue will still be there, Director General of the DNKOM Center for Molecular Genetic Studies Andrei Isayev told TASS.
"I think that Russia's vaccination campaign may end before the winter. Judging by the available data, we have already achieved a rather high level of herd immunity. However, the rate is unstable. The coronavirus keeps mutating so immunity achieved particularly through vaccination may become irrelevant as far as new strains go. Besides, booster jabs are required to keep the level of protection high. This is why we are currently unable to completely defeat the pandemic and make the coronavirus disappear, like it happened with smallpox," the expert pointed out.
According to Isayev, the coronavirus will mutate in an unpredictable manner, learning to evade antibodies formed as a result of encounters with previous variants. "We cannot yet say if new strains will be more pathogenic or less pathogenic. History says that both options are possible. Today, the only conclusion that we can draw is that the coronavirus story won't end in 2021 and 2022. Specific medications could help solve the problem, perhaps, some kind of a genetic therapy. However, the issue remains open," the expert concluded.
According to the latest data from Russian Health Minister Mikhail Murashko, about 41 mln people have been fully vaccinated in Russia and over 47 mln have received the first vaccine dose.