Experts told Newsweek that the delta variant won’t be the only coronavirus variant that makes its way through the United States. In fact, more mutations will come soon.
- “I wouldn’t be incredibly surprised if something else came along that’s even more transmissible,” Eric Vail, director of molecular pathology at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, told Newsweek.
The next big variant may come from one single person, per Newsweek. If one person suffers from a mutation that is more highly transmissible, they will pass it onto someone else, and then it will spread like wildfire as these mutations have done already.
- “If a mutation comes up anywhere that’s more transmissible, it will be selected out to propagate,” Sharone Green, infectious disease researcher at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, told Newsweek.
The key, experts told Newsweek, is to make sure that the coronavirus doesn’t mutate into something that makes vaccines ineffective. The delta variant, for example, spreads super fast, but it does not evade vaccines.
- “I don’t think eradication is on the table,” Green told Newsweek. She said the health community could create a better solution for COVID-19 than what we have now for the flu, where the virus remains really tame.
We’re already starting to see variants make their way into our population. For example, a variant originally discovered in Colombia made its way to South Florida in recent days, according to The Washington Post.
- The variant — the B.1.621 variant — already makes up 10% of cases in the South Florida area, Carlos Migoya, CEO of Jackson Health System, told WPLG.
- So far experts with Public Health England said that the variant is not more severe, nor does it evade vaccines.
However, a new study — published online through bioRxiv but has not been peer-reviewed — suggested that the lambda variant has three mutations that could help it evade vaccines, as I wrote about for the Deseret News.
- The researchers, who worked in a lab in Japan, said the variant can spread fast, too.
- “Lambda can be a potential threat to the human society,” he said.