People may need annual COVID-19 shots in the future, according to a leading Canadian virologist, as the virus continues to mutate. The new Coronavirus Variants Rapid Response Network is led by Marc-André Langlois. The third wave of this year-long pandemic has hit Canada, prompting several provinces to re-impose strict lockdown measures. Doctors say entire families are showing up at hospitals, which is a significant change from previous waves of the virus.
According Premier Doug Ford, the new variations are: “far more perilous than before they spread more quickly and cause more damage than the virus we were fighting last year”. According to Dr. Lisa Salamon, the new round of lockdowns this week may come too late, especially if Canadians ignore public health officials’ pleas to stay at home.
“We’re already a disaster, and it’s only the beginning of the long weekend… So it’ll be much worse after the long weekend”, Salamon explains. “The sooner everyone follows the rules and refrains from congregating, the sooner we can return to our normal way of life.” According to Langlois, the existing vaccines are effective against the three variants that have been identified so far in Canada.
Despite this, he believes that more variants will emerge, and researchers are investigating how they will combine to give the virus a new function. “It’s not just specific mutations, but the combination of mutations,” he says, explaining “that’s what makes things complex.” The flu shot, like the annual flu shot, will most likely need to be updated in the future.
News and picture source: CBC