New variants of the COVID-19 – including a fourth blamed for a surge of infections in India – have raised concerns worldwide that vaccines may be rendered ineffective, restoring lockdowns.
The World Health Organization’s lead coronavirus adviser, Maria Van Kerkhove, has warned of evidence suggesting variants first identified in the U.K., South Africa and Brazil display “increased transmissibility.”
But a prominent virologist cited in an article published by MIT Technology Review affirms the conclusion of other researchers that “the virus hasn’t fundamentally changed,” reports PJ Media’s Stephen Kruiser.
The scientist is Kartik Chandran of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City.
Another virologist, Thomas Friedrich of the University of Wisconsin School of Veterinary Medicine, said vaccines may become less effective over time, but there’s no evidence the world is on the brink of catastrophe.
“I don’t think that there’s an imminent danger that we’re going to go back to square one,” he said. “We should be concerned, but not freaked out.”
The MIT Technology Review article is titled “Five reasons why you don’t need to panic about coronavirus variants.”
Here’s a summary of the five reasons:
- Vaccines have been shown to work against troublesome SARS-CoV-2 variants
- The immune response is robust: Along with antibodies, the T-cell response should provide protection against most of the variants.
- When vaccinated people do get infected, the shots protect against the worst outcomes.
- The fact that some of the same mutations keep popping up across the different variants is positive. It indicates the virus may be running out of new ways to adapt to the current environment.
- If the effectiveness of the vaccines begins to wane, we can make booster shots.
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