On January 27, 2022, an online meeting of the Life sciences Scientific Council of the Russian Academy of Sciences was held on the following subject: Omicron: molecular biological features, epidemiology, prospects for diagnosis and therapy.

The meeting was moderated by Vladimir Pavlovich Chekhonin, Vice-President of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Head of the Section of Biomedical Sciences of the Russian Academy of Sciences.

Participants:

- Sergey Vladimirovich Alkhovsky, Head of the Laboratory of Biotechnology of The Gamaleya National Center of Epidemiology and Microbiology of the Ministry of Health of the Russian Federation: Genetic variability of SARS-CoV-2: how many letters in the Greek alphabet?

- Areg Artemovich Totolian, Academician of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Director of the Pasteur St. Petersburg Research Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology, Doctor of Medical Sciences, Professor;

- Sergey Viktorovich Netyosov, Corresponding Member of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Head of the Laboratory of Bionanotechnology, Microbiology and Virology of the Department of Natural Sciences of Novosibirsk State University: Comparative properties of SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus variants and its evolutionary potential

- Georgii Alexandrovich Bazykin, Ph.D., Princeton University, Professor of Skoltech, Head of the Laboratory of Molecular Evolution of the Institute for Information Transmission Problems of the Russian Academy of Sciences, an evolutionary biologist;

- Robert Chunhua Zhao, Institute of Basic Medical Sciences of the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences.

We invite you to participate online on the website of MIA Russia Today and the Scientific Russia portal!

 

The meeting was held at the International Multimedia Press Center of MIA Rossiya Segodnya with a parallel broadcast on the Scientific Russia portal.

 

13.00. The online meeting of the Life Sciences Scientific Council of the Russian Academy of Sciences Omicron: molecular biological features, epidemiology, prospects for diagnosis and therapy begins.

 

Join us!

 

13.02. Opening speech by RAS Vice-President Vladimir Pavlovich Chekhonin.

13.04. The floor is given to Sergey Vladimirovich Alkhovsky, Head of the Laboratory of Biotechnology of The Gamaleya National Center of Epidemiology and Microbiology of the Ministry of Health of the Russian Federation. Genetic variability of SARS-CoV-2: how many letters are in the Greek alphabet?

13.04. Two lines: the ordinary coronavirus and the omicron variant.

13.05. The rate of variability is 25 substitutions/genome per year.

13.06. The vast majority of these substitutions do not change the virus. And those substitutions that change are associated with the processes of adaptation of the virus and the change of antigenic epitopes.

13.08. There are different variants: 4-5 variants of concern. There are four types of mutations observed in them. They are located in human receptors.

13.09. Several substitutions are enough to reduce the activity of the virus by 2-3 times.

13.11. Omicron has about 50 mutation variants. This leads to a strong change in the antigenic characteristics of this virus.

13.12. Omicron has its unique characteristics. One of these characteristics is that Omicron escapes the action of antibodies, this is its important feature.

13.14. Nevertheless, the neutralizing activity of the already developed serums remains, as well as the protective actions.

13.15. Omicron can infect cells through the endosome; respectively, the spectrum of affected cells has expanded.

13.18. In general, covid acquires the properties inherent in seasonal viruses. And omicron will continue its evolution, form new genotypes.

13:24. The floor is given to Areg Artemovich Totolian: Academician of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Director of the Pasteur St. Petersburg Research Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology, Doctor of Medical Sciences, Professor.

13:25. Cytokine biomarkers in COVID-19 have been well studied.

13:25. Temporary cytokine insufficiency is especially dangerous.

13:15. Knowledge of cytokines is necessary for the prognosis of diseases: sensitivity or resistance to infection.

13:26. There is good progress in researching how the immune system works.

13:27. The dynamics of antibody production have also been well studied. The data obtained can be used to develop drugs against the pandemic.

13:29. In the course of the research, specialists have learned to evaluate post-infectious and post-vaccination immunity.

13:30. A skin test has been developed to assess the cellular immune response. It is informative and simple.

13:32. A test has also been developed to detect Omicron; it can be done in real-time.

13:34. Despite the work done, many things need additional study: lymphopenia, cytokines, T-cell immunity, NLA antigens.

13:40. Therefore, it is necessary to carry out and increase work on the identification of Omicron gene variants.

13:42. Sergey Viktorovich Netyosov, a Corresponding Member of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Head of the Laboratory of Bionanotechnology, Microbiology and Virology of the Faculty of Natural Sciences of Novosibirsk State University, delivers his report Comparative properties of variants of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus and its evolutionary potential.

13:44. Four coronavirus variants are of concern to WHO.

13:45. Omicron survives twofold longer on plastic surfaces, hence its rapid spread.

13:46. All four variants of coronavirus differ from each other.

13:47. There are many such differences: some variants of the virus have no substitutions, others have them, but they are not significant.

13:49. In Omicron, all substitutions are located near the furin site, which affects the symptoms.

13:50. The main symptoms of omicron are nasal discharge, cough, shortness of breath, fever.

13:51. Omicron can occur naturally, for example in South Africa: in domestic mice or HIV-positive.

13:52. There is a possibility of creating Omicron artificially, but this is unlikely.

13:53. In general, accelerated vaccination against Omicron is necessary; otherwise, the number of severe cases will increase.

13:55. There is a risk of the post-COVID syndrome after an Omicron infection, so it is recommended to get vaccinated.

13:56. The degree of protection from Omicron when vaccinated with today’s vaccines is about 50%.

13:59. The floor is given to Georgii Alexandrovich Bazykin: Ph.D., Princeton University, Professor of Skoltech, Head of the Laboratory of Molecular Evolution of the Institute for Information Transmission Problems of the Russian Academy of Sciences, an evolutionary biologist.

14:00. There are many variants of coronavirus in Russia, but they are all poorly researched.

14:03. Omicron is now spreading all over the world, displacing Delta.

14:04. In Russia, Omicron is also displacing delta, but this still needs to be confirmed.

14:05. In Russia, until December 16, all Omicron variants were imported.

14:06. An outbreak in a Saint Petersburg dormitory in December 2021 is associated with a new variant of Omicron.

14:10. This is a new mutation of Omicron; it can escape from antibodies.

14:11. Now it is necessary to closely monitor its spread in Russia and other countries.

14:13. In general, the situation with Omicron requires careful monitoring.

14:15. Mass vaccination is needed. If Omicron is here for a long time, then a special vaccine is needed for it.

14:20. Robert Chunhua Zhao, Institute of Basic Medical Sciences of the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences.

14:21. The coronavirus pandemic has been going on for two years and people of different social statuses and ages suffer from it.

14:21. COVID-19 is constantly evolving, taking severe forms, and this is a cause for concern.

14:22. All these forms easily escape from antibodies.

14:23. The virus enters the cell by connecting with another cell, and in the case of Omicron, the cell absorbs the virus using the endosome.

14:24. Because of this, the effect of vaccines is reduced.

14:25. Omicron mainly reproduces in the upper respiratory tract, hence a large number of infections.

14:27. Omicron is resistant to most existing antibodies, so new approaches are needed for its treatment.

14:28. Studies show that antibodies targeting the conservative area of the coronavirus lose their effectiveness when they collide with Omicron.

14:30. Therefore, experts are now working on the development of new drugs against coronavirus. For instance, Chinese scientists have proposed the MSC technology.

14:33. MSC is a cellular technology for the treatment of coronavirus complications.

14:34. It can modulate the functions of the immune system – regulate the level of lymphocytes in the blood.

14:36. In addition, it helps to restore damaged tissues and reduce inflammatory processes in the body.

14:40. Vladimir Chekhonin thanked everyone for their participation.

 

The broadcast is over.

 

Thank you for being with us!

Publications in the media:

The omicron strain COVID-19 displaces delta" - Professor of Skoltech Georgy Bazykin

https://scientificrussia.ru/articles/professor-ippi-ran-georgij-bazykin-genomnaa-epidemiologia-varianta-omikron-v-sankt-peterburge?utm_source=yxnews&utm_medium=desktop

 

Vice-President of the Russian Academy of Sciences V. Chekhov: "omicron: molecular biological features, epidemiology, prospects for diagnosis and therapy"

https://scientificrussia.ru/articles/vice-prezident-ran-v-cehonin-ob-ostrom-rasprostranenii-omikron-stamma?utm_source=yxnews&utm_medium=desktop

 

"Interesting" NeoCov and not the last "omicron": statements by NITS Gamalei

https://smotrim.ru/article/2669034?utm_source=yxnews&utm_medium=desktop&utm_referrer=https%3A%2F%2Fyandex.ru%2Fnews%2Fsearch%3Ftext%3D

 

Academician Totolyan spoke about the skin test for immunity to coronavirus

https://www.osnmedia.ru/obshhestvo/akademik-totolyan-rasskazal-o-kozhnom-teste-na-immunitet-k-koronavirusu/?utm_source=yxnews&utm_medium=desktop&utm_referrer=https%3A%2F%2Fyandex.ru%2Fnews%2Fsearch%3Ftext%3D

 

The latest forms of COVID-19 diagnostics "corona-dermis" - academician Areg Totolyan

https://scientificrussia.ru/articles/akademik-ran-aa-totolan?utm_source=yxnews&utm_medium=desktop&utm_referrer=https%3A%2F%2Fyandex.ru%2Fnews%2Fsearch%3Ftext%3D

 

In St. Petersburg, 70% of positive PCR tests come from Omicron

https://rg.ru/2022/01/27/reg-szfo/ekspert-70-polozhitelnyh-pcr-testov-v-peterburge-prihodiatsia-na-omikron.html?utm_source=yxnews&utm_medium=desktop

 

Two out of three sick Petersburgers are infected with the omicron strain of covid

https://nevnov.ru/923802-dvoe-iz-trekh-boleyushikh-peterburzhcev-zarazheny-omikron-shtammom-kovida