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Izvestia: Second wave of COVID-19 in Moscow unlikely, says expert

Pavel Volchkov, who heads the genome engineering lab at the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology, said in an exclusive interview with Izvestia that up to 40-60% of Moscow residents may be immune to the novel coronavirus, which means that a second wave of the epidemic in the Russian capital is highly unlikely.

“Recently, an article by Swedish researchers who studied T-cell immunity (“Robust T cell immunity in convalescent individuals with asymptomatic or mild COVID-19″) came out. Personally, I have been waiting for the results of this study for a long time. They have analyzed many biological samples, conducting ELISPOT (Enzyme-Linked ImmunoSpot), an expensive analysis that detects T-lymphocytes. It turns out that even those who do not have IgG-antibodies have developed T-cell immunity. The share of such people in the population is two-three times higher than the number of those with antibodies,” the expert told the newspaper.

“If officially, Moscow has documented 20% of people with a high number of IgG antibodies, we can confidently add 20-40% to this figure. Thus, according to the results, about half of Moscow’s residents are immune to the coronavirus. They won’t get sick anymore,” Volchkov emphasized.

“For a city like Moscow with millions of inhabitants, today’s figure of about 700 new daily individual infections show that immunity has been formed. If we only had 20% of immune residents, there would be much more people infected after restaurants and shops had opened.”

Volchkov suggested that the number of daily cases would continue to go down, reaching zero by late August.

The virologist pointed out that in his opinion, the SARS-CoV-2 virus had originated in a lab.

“An argument in support of this is that until recently, coronaviruses were not considered that dangerous. People could study them using second-level protection (there are four in total, with levels three and four considered the most dangerous, Izvestia explains). This is clear, as the viruses detected previously could not be transmitted from animals to humans (breaking the inter-species barrier) and then from human to human,” the expert said.

Header: MOSCOW, RUSSIA – MAY 29, 2020: Staff members at work in the ‘red zone’ of a temporary medical facility established for COVID-19 patients at Moscow City Clinical Hospital No 15 (Filatov Hospital). Sergei Bobylev/TASS

Source: TASS

Izvestia: full interview with Pavel Volchkov (in Russian)