'Doomsday' in the Works? More Infectious, Resilient COVID Variants Can Emerge, Media Warns
The new variants of the coronavirus may potentially be more infectious that the Delta variant, with the director of molecular pathology at Cedars-Sinai Medical Centre saying he “wouldn't be incredibly surprised if something else came along that's even more transmissible."
As the Delta variant of COVID continues to spread across the United States, the Lamba variant is raging in Argentina and Chile and infecting fully vaccinated people – even more dangerous variants of the virus may emerge in the future, Newsweek reports.
According to the magazine, even though the odds the emergence of a so-called “Doomsday variant” – a variant that “shrugs off vaccines, spreads like wildfire and leaves more of its victims much sicker than anything we've yet seen” – are not particularly high, experts are not writing it off.
For example, it seems that the arrival of a variant more infectious than Delta is not impossible, with Eric Vail, director of molecular pathology at Cedars-Sinai Medical Centre, saying that he "wouldn't be incredibly surprised if something else came along that's even more transmissible."
A new variant might also potentially be more resilient to vaccines, as mutations can slightly alter the shape of the spike proteins on the virus that serve as targets for antibodies and decrease the efficiency of vaccines.
3 August, 07:46 GMT
The magazine also warns that, the "refusal or inability" of a large number of people to get vaccinated leave them "primed to become living COVID-19 mutation labs," which, in light of Delta’s infectiousness, creates the conditions "to produce yet more, potentially more dangerous, variants in the coming months."
"It's going to be very difficult to stop it from happening with masks and social distancing at this point," said Preeti Malani, a physician and infectious disease researcher and chief health officer at the University of Michigan. "Vaccines are the key, and vaccine hesitancy is the obstacle."