Vladimir Putin's call to Alberto FernÃ¡ndez - which surprised Argentine officials to the point of having to go out and urgently seek an online translator - was no coincidence. The Russian representative seems very concerned about the coronavirus contagion of his Argentine counterpart and discusses sending a mission to the country to study the case.
Sources aware of the talks revealed to LPO that Minister Carla Vizzotti received a call from Russian authorities who communicated Moscow's idea of sending a discreet mission to discuss Alberto's case. The information stated that the Health Official had been changed right in the midst of the explosion of cases from the second wave.
There is extreme concern in the Russian government about Alberto's contagion, especially the global impact that the news might cause, affecting confidence in the Sputnik V vaccine. The Argentine president had received both doses of the vaccine, but still got infected with Covid-19.
The impact was such that the government of AndrÃ©s Manuel LÃ³pez Obrador had to speak out about the safety of the vaccine to ease the population's concern. "In epidemiology, there are no inferences from one single case, no matter how notorious it might be. What is required is a complete population experience," said Mexican Deputy Secretary of Health Hugo LÃ³pez Gatell. "Sputnik remains one of the best vaccines available in the world," he said.
Hours after the positive remarks, the Gamaleya Institute officials that developed Sputnik V had to explain that "vaccination does not exclude infection." "Eight percent of those vaccinated are at risk, but serious complications are excluded," said Russian research center director Alexandr Guintsburg.However, doubts in the scientific community persist. Argentine infectious disease specialist Pablo Goldschmidt, who resides in France, questioned the government's version of the case and said that if the vaccine in fact worked properly it would be hard for the president to have a viral load large enough to show a positive antigen test.
"If he had a fever of 37.3c, had taken both vaccines and still showed a positive PCR, the first thing I would do would be to repeat the RNA extraction and repeat the entire process. Either the lab made a mistake or the kit they used was of poor quality. How can it be that both vaccines not produce immunity; how can it be that he is infected with a viral load that is large enough to produce antigens?" Goldschmidt commented at Mitre radio.
The infectious disease specialist explained that in order for an antigen test to test positive, it requires a minimum viral load of 3000, while the PCR detects at 40. But it also requires you to test positive for two or three markers, which the specialist questions in Alberto's case. "I question the quality of the exam. That might be related with residues of a common cold virus," he said. "It seems to me that if you have been vaccinated, you would not get those results," he added.
Goldschmidt was also surprised by the decision to test the president for having had a fever of 37.3c, less than what is considered a symptom of coronavirus. "If you have a fever of 37.3c, you don't need to perform a PCR test, it should only be done if you're over 38.5. If you have a 37c fever, you don't get tested. Why would you get tested if your body heat can increase to 37.7c just by running a bit?" he asked
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