Danny Gys / Reporters

We can expect numbers testing positive for coronavirus to rise says Professor Van Gucht

At Friday morning’s public health science institute Sciensano press conference the virologist Steven Van Gucht said that we can expect that the 7-day rolling average for the number of people testing positive for coronavirus will start to rise again soon. 

Professor Van Gucht told the press conference that “The number of patients in intensive care appears to be no longer falling and the infection figures from the past few days indicate that we can soon expect the figures for the week to start rising again soon. When we zoom out from the curve, we can see that the plateau phase in the corona figure continues. These figures show that we are in a fragile balance with the virus. Without a doubt better times are coming, but we now need to exercise patience and persistence. It’s difficult but we need to persist. Our patience will be rewarded”.

“Two doses are absolutely necessary for optimal protection”

Speaking about the vaccination strategy whereby those that have received a first dose are always given a second dose of coronavirus vaccine, Professor Van Gucht said "We intend to systematically stick to the administration of two doses of the vaccine. This is absolutely necessary for optimal protection. This gives you high levels of antibodies in your blood and means that you are a lot more resistant to all variants of the virus”.

Questions had been raised as to whether two doses are really necessary for those that have already had the virus.

"Can we say that a previous infection can take on the role of a first dose of coronavirus vaccine? From studies, it would appear that a first dose of RNA vaccine (for example the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine) provokes a stronger response from someone that has been previously infected than among those that have been not”

Nevertheless, Professor Van Gucht questions these findings "These are findings made in laboratory conditions. Are people really better protected? They also looked at relatively young people, but what about people that are more vulnerable? Furthermore, doing this would create a whole logistical and administrative puzzle. This is why we advise to go for two doses”. 

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