The year 2022 has barely begun and Dr. Anthony Fauci already has a worst-case scenario prediction.
The news: Fauci, the White House medical adviser on the coronavirus, recently told Yahoo Finance! that the worst-case scenario for 2022 would be a COVID-19 variant that can evade vaccines and natural immunity.
- “The worst-case scenario is we’re on our way there and we get hit with another variant that actually eludes the immune protection. I hope that’s not the case,” Fauci said.
Fauci said the omicron variant can already evade vaccines to some extent, but the vaccine prevents hospitalizations and death. Immunity and vaccination may stop the worst-case scenario, he said.
- “The thing that makes it less likely, but not impossible, is that by that time, you will have so many people vaccinated and already infected, that you might have a level of community protection that may not get you away from the next variant, but would protect you from the severity of the next variant.”
Another prediction: Dr. Mark Dybul, a professor at Georgetown University Medical Center’s Department of Medicine and immunologist, told Fortune that he expects to see a vaccine-resistant variant by spring 2022 — at least based on trends for the virus from the last two years.
- “The faster we get boosted, the better off we’ll be for the next couple of months,” he said. “Sadly, every prediction I’ve made has pretty much come true. I hope I’m wrong this time, but I think by March, April, May, we will have a fully vaccine-resistant variant.
- “There’s simply no way you can have such low rates of vaccination around the world with the virus ping-ponging between vaccinated and unvaccinated people.
- “I’m an immunologist. The probability of us seeing a vaccine-resistant strain is very high.”
Why this matters: Of course, we may have already seen this with the omicron COVID-19 variant, which has evaded vaccines and caused many breakthrough cases.
- However, it’s still a reminder that there are more troubling potential variants out there. Vaccinations can help people stay safe from these dangerous variants, though.