Sinthia Hoque:- Chris Murray, a University of Washington disease expert, who is known worldwide for his projections on COVID-19 infections and deaths, is changing his assumptions about the pandemic.
Up until recently, Murray had been hopeful that the discovery of such promising vaccines could help countries achieve immunity and potentially eliminate transmission through inoculation and previous infection.
However, last month, data from a vaccine trial in South Africa had showed a rapidly-spreading coronavirus variant could decrease the effect of the vaccine and may potentially evade natural immunity in those who have been previously infected.
Murray is currently working to update his model to account for variant’s ability to escape natural immunity and hopes to provide the new projections sometime this week.
According to Reuters interviews with 18 specialists, a new consensus is emerging amongst scientists.
Though many of them described the two vaccine found late year was about 95% effective against COVID-19, it seems that data from recent weeks on variants in South Africa and Brazil don’t seem all that promising.
They now believe the SARS-CoV-2 will continue to exist as an endemic virus and continue to spread in communities, likely causing a significant amount of illness and deaths for many years to come.
As a result, scientists say people, specially those at high risk, can expect to continue the same measures we have now such as wearing masks, social distancing, avoiding large crowds as COVID-19 surges.
However some scientists, including Murray do acknowledge that there could potentially be an improved outlook, as the new vaccines have been showing a decreased count of hospitalizations and deaths even when the cause of death is new variants.
Work is in progress for booster shots and new inoculations, which could provide a higher level of efficacy and protect against the variants.
News source: Global News