Covid-19: Is there is any limit for variants to get much worse?

Roman AhmedWeb Editor

12th Jun, 2021. 06:29 pm
Even If You're Vaccinated, The Delta Variant Can Still Impact You

It is very clear that we are now dealing with a virus that spreads twice as easily as before, as compared to the version of Covid-19 that appeared in Wuhan at the end of 2019.

The Alpha variant, first identified in the UK, made a huge gap in its ability to transmit. Now Delta, which was first seen in India is still developing changes.

So are we completely fated to a never-ending procession of new and enhanced variants which are getting harder and harder to detect? Or is there a limit to it?

“Very rare for them to be perfect,” said Prof Wendy Barclay, a virologist from Imperial College London. “They settle in and then they have a great time.”

The cleanest way of associating the pure biological dispersion power of viruses is to look at their R0 (pronounced R-naught). It’s the average number of people each infected person passes a virus on to if nobody were immune and nobody took extra precautions to avoid getting infected.

That number was around 2.5 when the pandemic started in Wuhan and could be as high as 8.0 for the Delta variant, according to disease modelers at Imperial.

“This virus has surprised us a lot. It is beyond anything we feared,” said Dr. Aris Katzourakis, who studies viral evolution at the University of Oxford. “The fact it has happened twice in 18 months, two lineages (Alpha and then Delta) each 50% more transmissible is a phenomenal amount of change.”

“Ultimately there are limits and there isn’t a super-ultimate virus that has every bad combination of mutations,” said Dr. Katzourakis.

“It is quite possible that changes in the virus that make it better at avoiding vaccines could end up compromising its ability to transmit in an absolute sense,” said Dr. Katzourakis.

Whereas In rich countries with good vaccination campaigns it is anticipated that the next variants of Covid-19 won’t be able to impact as a major problem due to widespread immunity. But these increasingly more infectious variants are a nightmare for the rest of the world where they are making it harder and harder to stay on top of Covid-19.


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