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Current Covid wave should peak next week, immunology expert predicts

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DCU Professor of Immunology Christine Loscher

DCU Professor of Immunology Christine Loscher

DCU Professor of Immunology Christine Loscher

The peak of the current wave of Covid-19 is expected next week, according to an expert in immunology.

Professor of Immunology at DCU Christine Loscher said the true number of positive cases is probably two-to-three times more than what is being reported via PCR and antigen tests.

As of 8am this morning, 904 patients were hospitalised with the virus, of whom 36 are in ICU.

“I think we’re nearly there, we’re probably maybe a week out, the positivity rate while it has still climbed a little bit this week, it’s looking like it’s plateauing,” she told RTÉ Radio One's Today with Claire Byrne.

“If you look at the pattern in Portugal, it climbed for five or six weeks and we’re kind of in week four or five of our climb here. So, I think we’re nearly at the peak of it and it will start to plateau.

“Hospitalisations and ICUs will lag behind a little bit, so they are still climbing, and even if our numbers plateau, our cases plateau, we’re likely to see them climb for another few weeks.”

Prof Loscher said a decision on vaccine strategy heading into the winter months is a priority.

She said the pattern is that subvariants have arisen every three months and that Ireland will move on from the BA.4 and BA.5 variants, but it is unknown if the next variant will be mild or not.

“There’s a lot of decisions to be made in the next few weeks in terms of the new Omicron-specific vaccines that are going to be going to the FDA for approval in the next few weeks from both Moderna and Pfizer,” she said.

“Really, we’re at the mercy of the virus in terms of what happens next with its behaviour, whether it’s another subvariant that will behave in a mild fashion as it has been up until now, or whether it’s going to be a completely new variant.”

Current advice states that if you have symptoms of Covid-19 or test positive, it is recommended to self-isolate, even if you are fully vaccinated and boosted, until 48 hours after symptoms resolve.

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If you get a positive PCR or antigen test, you need to self-isolate for seven days from the date of your test or from when your symptoms started.

You can stop isolating after seven days if you have had no symptoms for the last 48 hours.

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