Leading scientist Katalin Karikó, who has greatly contributed to the development of the Covid-19 vaccine, gave an interview in the Sunday programme of the Hungarian Kossuth Rádió.
In the radio programme, she was interviewed about a few questions concerning the doubts around vaccination, and she debunked a few misconceptions, shedding more light on the nature of vaccines.
Karikó also talked about the new Omicron variant of the coronavirus, and she believes that there is hope that this might be the last Christmas where we have to deal with restrictions.
To the question of why people might need to get a booster jab, Karikó said the following to Híradó.hu:
When people are vaccinated, a healthy body will create antibodies based on the protein found in the vaccine. When this happens, these antibodies will enter the bloodstream and will also be found in the mucus membrane of the nose.
As the number of antibodies begins to diminish, likewise in the mucus membrane, people who have been vaccinated a while ago could be infected more easily than those recently vaccinated. Karikó added that the antibodies can also be present in breastmilk, giving a sort of protection to the children of breastfeeding mothers.
She highlighted that while people who have been vaccinated can get infected since their immune system has previously encountered one of the proteins of the RNA of the virus, it can react thanks to the memory cells, thus helping to mitigate the severe symptoms of the virus infection, potentially saving people, she told Híradó.hu.
However, underlying health conditions and obesity can have a major effect on the mortality rate of infected people.
Karikó refuted the claims that the vaccine causes the coronavirus infection. She explained that mRNA vaccines only contain a string of protein derived from the virus’s RNA.
About the Omicron variant, the Hungarian scientist said that in vitro testing is currently ongoing regarding the effectiveness of the vaccines against the new variant. The data is not yet sufficient, she added.
Katalin Karikó said that if the new Omicron variant takes over the Delta variant, there is a possibility that it could end the pandemic.
She highlighted that it is not yet proven, but she is hopeful that this might be the last Christmas people have to spend the holidays under epidemiological restrictions.