As countries race to ease epidemic prevention measures, British scientists warn that the risk of a new strain of SARS-CoV-2 appearing more dangerous than Omicron.
Professor Mark Woolhouse of the University of Edinburgh (UK) warns that the notion that future strains of SARS-CoV-2 are less severe is very dangerous. “The Omicron variant didn’t come from the Delta variant. It came from a completely different group of viruses. We don’t know where the new strain will come from, so we don’t know how it could cause disease. any”.
Sharing this view, epidemiologist Lawrence Young of the University of Warwick comments: “People tend to think that viruses vary linearly from Alpha to Beta to Delta to Omicron. But the reality is not so simple. The notion that strains are becoming less and less serious is completely wrong. A new strain may even be more dangerous, more deadly than Delta.”
David Nabarro, special envoy on Covid-19 of the World Health Organization ( WHO), also noted the unpredictable variation of the SARS-CoV-2 variant. “After Omicron there will be other strains, if they are more contagious, they will become dominant. Also, they can cause other symptoms, in other words, they can be more deadly or cause disease. longer-term consequences”.
The WHO official urged countries to continue planning for the risk of another wave of infections, causing a sharp increase in the number of people infected and hospitalized. “People need to be encouraged to continue to protect themselves and others. If we don’t do this, we could face serious consequences. The pandemic is not over yet,” Mr. Nabarro said.
The above warnings were issued at a time when countries were racing to relax or completely remove epidemic prevention measures because they thought that the Omicron strain was less serious, so the number of hospitalizations and deaths due to Covid-19 dropped sharply. . This week, a series of European countries, including Denmark, Norway, and Sweden, lifted their last epidemic prevention measures, declaring Covid-19 no longer a significant threat to society. .
WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus on February 11 said that the Covid-19 pandemic could have an acute stage, becoming endemic around June or July this year, but provided that countries must achieve the Target to fully vaccinate against Covid-19 vaccine for at least 70% of the population.
However, WHO believes that it is too early to completely lift epidemic prevention measures, emphasizing that nowhere in the world has escaped the pandemic. Soumya Swaminathan, head of the WHO’s scientific research team, yesterday warned that the world has not yet escaped the pandemic because there may be more new strains of SARS-CoV-2 appearing. “We have seen the virus mutate, mutate, so we know that there will be other mutations, there are more worrying strains, so we are still not out of the pandemic,” said the expert. Swaminathan said.