Experts are warning that COVID-19 variants are likely to come after Omicron, AP reports,
Why this matters: The warnings come because there is no guarantee that the latter variant “will cause milder disease or that existing vaccines will work against them,” writes the AP, underscoring the need for widespread vaccination.
- The likelihood of the virus to mutate increases with every infection, raising concern as the highly infectious Omicron variant spreads rapidly, per ap.
Between the lines: It is not clear what the later versions might look like or how they might affect the pandemic, caution the experts.
What are they saying: “The faster the oomicron spreads, the more opportunities there are for mutations, potentially leading to more variants,” Leonardo Martinez, an infectious disease epidemiologist at Boston University, told the AP.
- “It is this long-term persistent infection that seems to be the most likely breeding ground for new variants,” Stuart Campbell Ray, an infectious disease specialist at Johns Hopkins University, told the AP.
- “It’s only when you have a very widespread infection that you’re going to be given an opportunity to happen.”
big picture: Preliminary research suggests that the highly infectious Omicron variant is more resistant to prior coronavirus infection than other variants, reports Nerdshala Caitlin Owens.
- Preliminary studies have also found that coronavirus vaccines – especially those without a booster shot – are less effective against omicron infection than other variants, although they hold up well against severe disease.
- World Health Organization Nearly 20 million new COVID-19 cases were registered in the last seven days.
go in: Pre-infection protection against Omicron is significantly reduced