Swiss researcher warns of new ‘super variant’

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“Covid-22 could become even worse than what we are experiencing now,” says Swiss scientist Sai Reddy, with regard to new Corona variants. Vaccinations would therefore have to be adapted in the future as well.
Warning against superspreader events
A scientist working in Switzerland warns of a new Corona super-variant. This could form as a combination of existing variants, Sai Reddy, assistant professor at the Department of Biosystem Science and Engineering at ETH in Basel, said in an interview. “It is very likely that a new variant will emerge where we can no longer rely on vaccination alone,” the 40-year-old U.S. American told “SonntagsBlick.”

Vaccinations must be adapted to variants
Wherever it emerges, he said, it will certainly reach Central Europe: “That’s why we have to be prepared for several vaccinations for the next few years, which will be continuously adapted to new variants.”

Coronavirus variants Beta from South Africa and Gamma from Brazil have developed escape mutations, so they can partially evade antibodies, the immunologist explained. Delta, on the other hand, is much more contagious but has not yet formed escape mutations, he said. The emergence of a combination is “inevitable,” Reddy said.

“‘Covid-22’ could get worse
It will be the next phase of the pandemic if beta or gamma become more infectious or if delta develops escape mutations, he said. “That’s going to be the big problem in the coming year. Covid-22 could be even worse than what we’re seeing now.” Vaccine manufacturers would then have to adapt vaccines quickly.

Recent data, according to the researcher, show that Delta’s viral load is so large that anyone unvaccinated who contracts the variant could be a superspreader: “And because children under 12 can’t get vaccinated, they become a large group of potential superspreaders.” Recent reports from Israel and the U.S. further show that after six months, current mRNA vaccines are only up to 60 percent effective against symptomatic delta infection, Reddy said. But they are still very effective against severe symptoms, he said.

  • source: vienna.at/picture: pixabay.com
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