Vaccines are here but coronavirus isn’t going away anytime soon: Why scientists see pandemic stretching out

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US National Institutes of Health director Francis Collins was quoted as saying that the scientific community is very worried as few more mutations could make the virus hugely infectious.With the emergence of highly transmissible variants of Coronavirus in different countries of the world, chances of the rapid increase in Coronavirus infection have gone up despite several countries entering into the first phase of vaccination drive against Coronavirus. In addition to being highly infectious, some of the new variants of Coronavirus are also feared to be vaccine-evading variants which might bring the spectre the world has seen last year back on centre-stage in 2021 as well, according to a Washington Post report. While it is entirely difficult at this juncture to foresee the Covid-19 related events about to unfold this year, scientists have issued a warning note that the pandemic is expected to remain far from being over this year.

Despite precautions and travel bans imposed by several countries to minimise the spread of cases related to the new variant of Coronavirus, several new cases are being reported of the new variants in different countries around the world. The United States of America which has been one of the worst affected countries has reported three cases of the South African variant with at least one of the patients having no recent travel history making health experts suspicious that the new variant has acquired the community transmission stage.

US top pandemic expert and National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Anthony Fauci was quoted as saying that the UK variant of Coronavirus is going to get more dominant in the US in the coming months. However, Dr Fauci clarified that with regard to the South African variant it would be too early to reach any projections as it is not clear if the virus will dominate in the country.

So far scientists have assured that the vaccines are most likely to work even against the new malignant variants of the disease but the scientific community is worried with the pace of Coronavirus adapting to the human body in form of different variants. Scientists and vaccine manufacturing pharma companies have also stepped up their efforts to keep ahead of the Coronavirus and bring changes in the vaccine to make them effective against the new variants. However, the pace at which the deadly virus is changing its mutation is feared to be more than what the vaccine makers can cope with.

US National Institutes of Health director Francis Collins was quoted as saying that the scientific community is very worried as few more mutations could make the virus hugely infectious. Collins further said that some reports of the new mutation of virus re-infecting those who have already recovered from Coronavirus are further disturbing. Various health experts and scientists from around the world had earlier estimated that after the vaccination of about 70 percent of the population, the virus would not be in a situation to freely circulate a phenomenon termed herd immunity. However, with several new mutations, the scientists fear that the countries will need to vaccinate an even larger population to bring the pandemic to an end.

At a time when several pharma companies have succeeded in developing new Coronavirus vaccines, the world is not jubilant as it should have been as instances of some of the new vaccines not being substantially effective against new mutations have been reported. The latest Coronavirus vaccine developed by Novavax has shown a dramatic drop in its performance in preventing the B.1.351 variant which is presently circulating in South Africa. Similarly, the vaccine developed by Johnson & Johnsoh has been less effective in taming new mutations of Coronavirus in South Africa and some Latin American countries.

Amidst the pall spread by the new variants of Coronavirus, scientists have clarified that according to preliminary evidence the new variants of Coronavirus is unlikely to cause more severity among the patients and preventive measures like physical distancing and wearing masks will remain effective against the new mutations of Coronavirus as well.

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